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Nancy Schimelpfening

Men More Prone to Depression After Divorce Than Women

By May 29, 2007

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Men and women both are more likely to experience depression following a marital breakup, says a new study from Statistics Canada, but men appear to take the breakup harder.

While both men and women whose marriages have ended have a higher risk of being depressed than married couples, the Statistics Canada study found that men who had divorced or separated were six times more likely to report an episode of depression compared with the men who remained married. Women who had split up with their spouse, in contrast, were only 3.5 times more likely to have experienced depression compared to still-married women.

The study looked at disruptive life changes--such as loss of income, a decline in social support and loss of custody of children--as potential sources of depression. The study found that loss of custody and parental responsibilities was the most stressful change for men, affective 34 percent of men, but only 3 percent of women. Women, however, were more likely to experience a drop in income, with 43 percent of them experiencing a loss of income as opposed to 15 percent of men.

In a comment to The Western Star , the study author, Michelle Roterman said, "On the one hand we know depression in general tends to be more common among women, but there is also a lot of evidence that shows that men have fewer social supports and social support does seem to play a role. Perhaps one of the reasons why men are more at risk of experiencing subsequent depression is because one of their main sources of social support is their partner, their spouse, and now she is no longer there."

You can learn more about the study at the Statistics Canada Web site.

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