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Age and the Gender Gap in Depression

John Mirowsky
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 37, No. 4 (Dec., 1996), pp. 362-380
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137263
Page Count: 19
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Age and the Gender Gap in Depression
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Abstract

Women average higher levels of depression than men. This paper tests the hypothesis that the gender gap in depression grows in adulthood as women and men enter and undergo their unequal adult statuses. The emerging gender stratification hypothesis has three parts: (1) The age increment hypothesis states that the difference in depression between women and men increases in successively older age groups at least until retirement age and perhaps throughout the lifetime; (2) The status mediation hypothesis states that rising sex differences in marital status, employment, housework, child care, and economic strains account for much of the larger gender gap in depression among middle-aged adults than among young adults; (3) The differential change hypothesis states that women's depression drops more slowly than men's in early adulthood, so that the gender gap increases over time as implied by the concurrent differences among age groups. Analyses of three data sets (two from national U.S. samples) support the three component hypotheses.

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