Social stress and women's risk for recurrent depression
- Cite this article as:
- Hammen, C. Arch Womens Ment Health (2003) 6: 9. doi:10.1007/s00737-002-0160-4
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The lives of depressed women appear to be stressful. Based on data from a community sample of women with histories of depression, support for an interpersonal stress perspective on women's depression is presented. Women often find themselves embedded in environments with high levels of chronic stress and negative life events. Compared to never-depressed women, those who are currently depressed, and even those with prior but not current depression, are relatively more likely to experience divorce and marital difficulties, spouses with psychiatric disorders, problematic relationships with their children, children with high rates of disorder, and recent elevated rates of personal stressful life events. Such life challenges may increase the likelihood of further depressive experiences. While both psychosocial and genetic factors may contribute to the interpersonal vulnerabilities, once caught up in depression-maintaining environments, treatments for women may require intervention in the family and interpersonal domains.