Gender differences in recognising depression in a case vignette in a university student population: Interaction of participant and vignette subject gender with depressive symptomatology


Objective: Gender difference in depression prevalence may be explained by variation in the recognition of depression due to differences in gender identity. Method: We distributed one of four questionnaires describing fictional cases of Major Depressive Episode (MDE) (2 predominant symptom types × 2 case vignette subject genders) to 72 students. Participants were asked whether and how much they thought the subject in the case was emotionally as well as somatically ill. They were also administered the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale and the Ito Sex Role Scale. Results: Participants scoring high in gender identity communion and ideal gender roles communion and delicacy were more likely to identify the vignette subject as ill. The severity of somatic illness was rated more highly for the case of predominantly somatic symptomatology. The recognition of severity of psychological illness was influenced by two interactive terms: the gender of the vignette subjects x gender of the participants and predominant symptoms x gender of the vignette subjects. Recognition of MDE case vignettes as indicating illness, particularly psychological illness, was more likely when the participant was female, scored highly in femininity, or was of the gender as the case subject. Conclusion: These findings may be concordant with the self-schema theory.

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Andou, J. and Kitamura, T. (2013) Gender differences in recognising depression in a case vignette in a university student population: Interaction of participant and vignette subject gender with depressive symptomatology. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 3, 384-392. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.34041.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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