Q: Why are women more depressed than men?
A: Because they have to live with men.
It’s an old joke in the battle of the sexes, but women do get diagnosed with depression more than men do.
Depression is reaching epidemic proportions, in the US and elsewhere. Are more women depressed than men? Or are women just more likely to seek treatment, while men “act out” the depression with anti-social behavior, alcohol and drugs?
New research by Turham Canli, Stanford University, suggests that estrogen may play a role in predisposing to depression.
He showed photographs to men and women, some of them emotionally neutral objects (a fire hydrant) and others emotionally disturbing (severed hand). Three weeks later when he retested the subjects, the women were 15% more likely to remember the disturbing pictures.
Brain scans were done by fMRI which shows the actual activity of the brain as emotions are processed. It appears that women store both the memory and the emotion linked with it in the same parts of the brain. Men, on the other hand, while they use the same brain regions, store the memory in one area, and the emotion in another.
At the same time, environmental factors also play a role. Men are taught to stuff it down and be “manly,” while girls are expected to be “more emotional,” expressing their feelings openly.
The researchers leaped from this female way of remembering to depression. If that makes sense to you, learning emotional intelligence and optimism might help. Thirty years of research shows that optimists achieve more, are better motivated, have elevated mood and well-being, and perform better, and it can be learned. Learning how to “manage” those emotions that are stored with the memory would seem to indicated!
Submitted by: Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology, The EQ Coach *
Return back to your last page ?