Multilevel Influences on Depressive Symptoms Among Men in Bangladesh

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Abstract

Depression is a worldwide problem and is especially prevalent in lower income countries with insufficient resources and widespread poverty, such as Bangladesh. Yet, multilevel determinants of depressive symptoms in men have not been studied in this context. We leverage a novel data set from men in Bangladesh to determine the community- and individual-level influences of masculine dominance strain and financial strain on the frequency of married men’s depressive symptoms in Bangladesh. Data were collected between January and June 2011 as part of the United Nations Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence, conducted by the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh. Masculine dominance strain at both levels was related to the frequency of depressive symptoms. Financial strain only at the individual level was related to the frequency of depressive symptoms. We conclude that community-level economic interventions may not directly influence individual-level depression; however, addressing customary conceptions of masculinity at the community and individual levels and addressing individual-level financial strain are promising joint strategies to improve married men’s mental health in Bangladesh and similar settings.

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