Depressive disorders in women: From menarche to beyond the menopause

Wendy Somerset, D. Jeffrey Newport, Kim Ragan, Zachary N. Stowe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION In the United States, over 30 million people experience clinical depression each year (Kessler et al., 2003), with the majority of these patients being female. The rate of depression in women is typically twice that of men, with several studies reporting variability in the lifetime ratios in different countries, for example ratios ranging from 1.6 in Beirut and Taiwan to 3.1 in West Germany (Weissman et al., 1996). The identification and treatment of depression in women has garnered increasing attention over the past decade, particularly with respect to the impact of reproductive life events on mood disorders. The National Institutes of Health has issued several announcements requesting applications to investigate this understudied area. A major impetus for this increased research focus is that distribution of major depression across the female reproductive life cycle is variable. Women are at greatest risk for the first episode of major depression during the childbearing years (Angold, Costello, & Worthman, 1998; Bebbington et al., 1998; Weissman, 1996). The overlap between the symptoms of depression and many complaints considered by clinicians to be the normal sequelae of reproductive life events, such as menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum, and the transition to menopause, presents challenges to the accurate diagnosis as well as calls to question the validity of applying the same diagnostic criteria to women during these life events (Stowe & Newport, 1998).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWomen and Depression
Subtitle of host publicationA Handbook for the Social, Behavioral, and Biomedical Sciences
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780511841262
ISBN (Print)0521831571, 9780521831574
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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