Gender differences in self-reports of depression: The response bias hypothesis revisited


Journal Article

This study was designed to revisit the response bias hypothesis, which posits that gender differences in depression prevalence rates may reflect a tendency for men to underreport depressive symptoms. In this study, we examined aspects of gender role socialization (gender-related traits, socially desirable responding, beliefs about mental health and depression) that may contribute to a response bias in self-reports of depression. In addition, we investigated the impact of two contextual variables (i.e., cause of depression and level of intrusiveness of experimental follow-up) on self-reports of depressive symptoms. Results indicated that men, but not women, reported fewer depressive symptoms when consent forms indicated that a more involved follow-up might occur. Further, results indicated differential responding by men and women on measures of gender-related traits, mental health beliefs, and beliefs about depression and predictors of depressed mood. Together, our results support the assertion that, in specific contexts, a response bias explanation warrants further consideration in investigations of gender differences in rates of self-reported depression. © 2005 Springer Science + Business Media, Inc.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Sigmon, ST; Pells, JJ; Boulard, NE; Whitcomb-Smith, S; Edenfield, TM; Hermann, BA; Lamattina, SM; Schartel, JG; Kubik, E

Published Date

  • September 1, 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 53 / 5-6

Start / End Page

  • 401 - 411

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-2762

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0360-0025

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s11199-005-6762-3

Citation Source

  • Scopus