Gender differences in responses to depressed mood in a college sample
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Two studies tested the hypothesis that women are more likely than men to focus on themselves and their mood when in a depressed mood, and that this leads them to experience longer periods of depressed mood. In both studies subjects were predominantly Caucasian college students. In our first study, a laboratory study, females chose to engage in an emotion-related task significantly more often than did males, even when this lead them to focus on an existing sad mood. In the second study, a prospective naturalistic study, females were more likely than males to evince an emotion-focused ruminative style of coping with their moods. A ruminative response style at Time 1 was a significant predictor of depression scores at Time 2, even after initial levels of depressed mood were taken into account. Furthermore, once rumination levels were controlled for, gender was no longer a potent predictor of depression outcome. The implications of these response styles for treatment are discussed.
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