Women and depression: Research, theory, and social policy


Book Section

© Cambridge University Press 2006. The World Health Organization (WHO) has found gender differences in depression in all regions of the globe and has identified clinical depression as a leading cause of disease-related disability among the worldʹs women (Demyttenaere et al., 2004). Depressive illness is known to be associated with (Hudson et al., 2003) and to affect the clinical course of certain medical illnesses (or risk factors for illness; Frasure-Smith, Lesperance, & Talajic, 1993; McEwen, 2003; McEwen & Lasley, 2002). Further, clinical depression has been found to have multiple social roots associated with inequality, powerlessness, and devaluation, including poverty and hunger, discrimination, poor working conditions, violence, and unwanted pregnancy (Desjarlais, Eisenberg, Good, & Kleinman, 1995; McGrath, Keita, Strickland, & Russo, 1990; Ustun & Sartorius, 1995; WHO, 2000). Given the personal, social, and economic impact of depression on women, their families, and society, policy issues take on new urgency.The fact that depression is so strongly associated with powerlessness and devaluation makes a feminist analysis that values women and seeks to empower them particularly relevant (Worell, 2001). Feminists across the disciplines have taken the lead in fostering research and treatment approaches to womenʹs mental health (Carmen, Russo, & Miller, 1981; Rieker & Carmen, 1984; Russo, 1984, 1995; White, Russo, & Travis, 2001a). In doing so they have begun to identify gender-related aspects of womenʹs roles and life circumstances that contribute to womenʹs risk for depression.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hamilton, JA; Russo, NF

Published Date

  • January 1, 2006

Book Title

  • Women and Depression: A Handbook for the Social, Behavioral, and Biomedical Sciences

Start / End Page

  • 479 - 522

International Standard Book Number 10 (ISBN-10)

  • 0521831571

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780521831574

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/CBO9780511841262.021

Citation Source

  • Scopus