Gender Differences in Depressive Symptoms in China: An Explanatory Model

Paige Borelli, Duke University
Matt Bradshaw, Duke University

On average, women report more depressive symptoms and other forms of psychological distress than men. While this gender gap has been documented in countries around the world, only a handful of studies have attempted to explain why it exists. The present study addresses this weakness in the literature by outlining a series of possible explanations, and then testing them with data on 2,552 older adults in rural and urban China. Findings show that women do indeed experience more depressive symptoms than men in this sample. They also suggest that a considerable proportion of this gender gap is explained by differences in educational attainment, employment status, physical limitations, and needs for assistance during daily life. In addition, the gender gap appears to be smaller in more developed areas of China, suggesting that economic opportunities may play a key role in reducing gender differences in depressive symptoms in China.

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Presented in Poster Session 2