Depression screening questions seem to miss men

Women may be more likely to be diagnosed and treated for anxiety and depression not because they are, but because they're more willing than men to honestly answer the questions used to diagnose mental health problems, a new Duke study finds.

Jen'nan Read, a Duke sociologist and lead-author of the study, said men seem to adhere to a societal stigma to remain "macho" and are less likely to open up about their feelings. Her findings appear in Sociological Forum available online now and will appear in print in December.

Read's study examines connections between mental and in both men and and suggests that the criteria used to examine should be expanded beyond depression to include questions on substance abuse, which is another form of expressing mental distress, and more common among men.

The study finds that while depression is often how women express problems with mental health, men do so by drinking alcohol. The Duke study found that questioning men about alcohol use is a better way to diagnose both mental and physical health problems.

"Depression gives a lopsided picture," Read said. "It makes mental health look like a women's issue."

A common set of questions include asking how often people have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, felt sad, lonely or like 'you couldn't shake the blues.'

"It's more acceptable for women to answer affirmatively to these questions," Read said. "Men are less likely to say they have feelings of anxiety. Issues of masculinity lead many to mask their problems."

The result is often missed diagnoses of in men.

The study crunches data from the Aging Status and Sense of Control Survey, in which people answer questions about their mental and physical health, diet, family situation, access and use of health care and other life factors. The average of women surveyed is about 54, and the average age of men was about 51.

Read's study found that both men and women suffering from are likely to suffer physical problems as well, like , diabetes and other issues.


Explore further

Are women getting the support they need after giving birth?

More information: Sociological Forum, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10 … 1111/socf.12298/full
Provided by Duke University
Citation: Depression screening questions seem to miss men (2016, November 11) retrieved 22 July 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-11-depression-screening-men.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more