Researchers at Scotland’s Royal Edinburgh Hospital found that the ratio of female to male depression patients is decreasing. In 1980, 1.9 female depression patients were treated for every 1 male patient treated. By 1995, that ratio had dropped to 1.5.
The rate of depression for women dropped from 6.1 per 10,000 in 1980 to 5.3 per 10,000 in 1995, while the depression rates for men increased from 3.1 to 3.5 per 10,000.
Researchers theorize that the changes may be due to changing gender roles, which have lessened men’s financial and social dominance over women. Relaxed gender roles may also have encouraged men to seek help for depression more readily than they did in the past. According to the report, “Important changes in gender roles have occurred over the last 20 years …. a decrease in the number of men in full-time work and an increase in the number of women in both part-time and full-time work. For men, the resultant loss of status as sole financial provider for the family, the perceived loss of social status, and the consequent social isolation could all be considered risk factors for depression.”