ERIC Number: ED293028
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Gender Differences in Self-Disclosure Tendencies: Their Nature and Impact on Vulnerability to Depression.
Newmann, Joy Perkins
One consistent finding in the literature on gender differences in distress is that women report more symptoms of depression than do men. This study examined the effects of a willingness to self-disclose, predicted to be more characteristic of women than of men, on one's vulnerability to symptoms of depression in response to various life stresses. Data were obtained from 408 men and 493 women who completed the Psychiatric Evaluation Research Instrument Depression Scale, a three-item measure of life stress, a four-item measure of the availability of social support, and a cluster of five items measuring the subject's tendency to self-disclose. The findings revealed that females reported significantly higher levels of depression than did males, while sex differences in the reporting of levels of life strain were found to be small and nonsignificant. Men and women were found to differ in their perceptions of the availability of social supports. While the findings provide support for the hypothesis that the willingness to trust and confide in others in times of difficulty places women at a reduced risk of experiencing a depression in response to life stresses, they also highlight the importance of distinguishing between symptoms suggestive of a clinical syndrome and more delimited forms of distress that may have little to do with poor mental health, namely feelings of sadness. Eleven pages of tables are provided. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (37th, Chicago, IL, August 14-16, 1987).