Differential Relationship Between Depression Severity and Patients' Perceived Family Functioning in Women versus in Men

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Previous research suggests that depression and family functioning are related and that women and men may differ in how they respond to and cope with depression. Significantly less attention has been paid to whether sex moderates the relationship between family functioning and depression. In the current study, the relationship between depression severity and perceived family functioning, both generally and in specific areas, was examined in women and men (N = 117) hospitalized with major depression. The level of depression severity was not significantly different in men and in women. Correlations between depression severity and most domains of family functioning were significant and positive for men only. Furthermore, sex statistically moderated the associations between depression severity and family functioning in the areas of problem solving, communication, affective responsiveness, and behavior control. The implications for the assessment and treatment of family dysfunction in severely depressed patients are discussed.

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