Medizinische Universität Graz Austria/Österreich - Forschungsportal - Medical University of Graz

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Gewählte Publikation:

Schwalsberger, K.
Sex and Depression: Understanding the Gender Gap in Symptomatology, Course of Disease and Therapeutic Response
Doktoratsstudium der Medizinischen Wissenschaft; Humanmedizin; [ Dissertation ] Medizinische Universität Graz; 2022. pp. 93 [OPEN ACCESS]


Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz:
Dalkner Nina
Reininghaus Eva
Roller-Wirnsberger Regina

Introduction: Gender and sex-related medicine, as well as personalized care, is of tremendous importance. To ensure personalized treatment in depressive disorders (DD) it is essential to investigate potential differences between women and men with DD. The aim of this study was to investigate sex-related differences in DD regarding classic psychological key variables (Big Five personality traits and coping styles), physiological comorbidities, inflammatory biomarkers, and pharmacological treatment (number and kind of drugs). Furthermore, sex-related differences in treatment response after a six–week rehabilitation program were examined and determinates of the severity of depression were investigated. Method: The data of 388 patients (194 females) — matched by age and severity of depression — participating in a psychiatric rehabilitation program were analyzed. Psychological and physiological variables were assessed before and after a six-week rehabilitation program and were compared between women and men. Results: Females showed higher scores in the Big Five personality traits, especially Neuroticism, and displayed unhealthy stress coping styles compared to men. Men more often suffered from cardiovascular diseases and women from thyroid dysfunction and food intolerances. Positive changes due to the rehabilitation program were found in women and men; however, the changes where more profound in women. Discussion/Conclusion: Differences in the response towards stressful events between women and men might be associated with personality traits and coping strategies according to the results of this study. Different health issues were found to be especially relevant for men (i.e., cardiovascular diseases) and others for women (i.e., thyroid dysfunction or physiological stress response). Women appeared to experience more positive changes during the rehabilitation program. The findings should be taken into account when realizing personalized treatment.

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