, Volume 24, Issue 7-8, pp 425-438

Accounting for sex differences in depression through female victimization: Childhood sexual abuse

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Abstract

Unipolar depression is nearly twice as prevalent is women as men (Nolen-Hoeksema, 1987). Several theories attempting to account for this disparity have been proposed, but none has yet systematically considered women's victimization experiences as a possible significant contributor to their high risk for later depression. One type of victimization that is much more common in females than males is child sexual abuse. Recent research indicates that the long-term effects of child sexual abuse include anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. In this paper, we review research suggesting that child sexual abuse can account for a significant portion of the differences in the rates of depression between females and males.