Gender Differences in Depression: The Role Played by Paternal Attitudes of Male Superiority and Maternal Modeling of Gender-Related Limitations1

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A reanalysis of a large multi-generational, predominantly Caucasian sample of adults found a large gender difference in self-reported depression involving anxiety, appetite and sleep disturbance, and fatigue (“anxious somatic depression”) but not in “pure depression” unaccompanied by many of these other symptoms, replicating earlier findings on high school and college samples. Anxious somatic depression was prevalent among women whose fathers reported attitudes of male superiority and among women whose mothers reported emphasizing the importance of professional success but feeling that the jobs they held were not respected by others. Anxious somatic depression, but not pure depression, was found to be prevalent among women who did not attend college and among those who attended college but felt that the jobs they held were not respected by others.

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