a1 School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, and Mood Disorders Unit, Prince Henry Hospital, Sydney, Australia
To isolate and quantify possible determinants of any increased prevalence of depressive disorders in women we studied a select group of men and women, initially similar in terms of a number of putative social determinants of depression, and reviewed the sample five years later when social role diversity was anticipated. We used the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) to generate DSM-III and RDC diagnoses to estimate lifetime depressive disorders, and established (via corroborative reports) the likely accuracy of those data. Despite lifetime depression being a relatively common experience, no significant sex differences in depressive episodes were demonstrated, suggesting the possible irrelevance of biological factors in determining any sex difference. As there was not major social role divergence over the five year study, we interpret the lack of a sex difference as a consequence, and suggest that findings support the view that social factors are of key relevance in determining any female preponderance in depression described in general population studies.
c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Kay Wilhelm, School of Psychiatry, Prince Henry Hospital, Little Bay 2036, Sydney, Australia.