Psychological Medicine

Original Articles

Gender and depression in Anglo-Jewry

K. Loewenthala1 c1, V. Goldblatta1, T. Gortona1, G. Lubitscha1, H. Bicknella1, D. Fellowesa1 and A. Sowdena1

a1 Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London

SYNOPSIS

This study found similar prevalence of case depression among men as among women in a sample of 339 Jews affiliated to orthodox synagogues (157 men and 182 women). There were significant gender differences in several social–situational factors and symptoms, mostly in the direction that would suggest that case depression would be higher among women than among men. That this was not so is suggested to be the result of the cultural milieu: social factors that have been found to be associated with depression in other groups of people did not function as risk or vulnerability factors among the Jews studied. In particular, the evidence indicates the importance of specific cultural–religious values in contributing towards the prevalences that were observed. These values included the esteem attached to women's central role in family management and the low use of alcohol and suicide as escape routes from depression.

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Kate Loewenthal, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX.

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