Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 38, Issue 3, March 2009

Men and depression

Kay A Wilhelm
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It is often reported that men have lower rates of depression than women, but this does not necessarily signify better overall mental health in the male population.
This article discusses the presentation of depression in men and how it may differ from that of women. It also provides strategies for improving the assessment of depression in men.
Men’s lower overall rate of depression than women reflects a number of issues, including psychosocial barriers to seeking help. Depression rates vary according to age groups, and certain subgroups of men may be particularly vulnerable. Men often display different symptoms and behaviours in response to depression and experience anxiety disorders less frequently. Men’s greater risk taking and substance abuse have health outcomes that can impact on depression later in life. Women have greater emotional literacy and are more likely to volunteer how they feel, while men are more likely to do something about their negative affect. While men are usually wary about talking about their depression, they will discuss their feelings if provided with a safe environment in which to do so.

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