Negative life events, social support and gender difference in depression

A multinational community survey with data from the ODIN study
  • Odd Steffen DalgardEmail author
  • Christopher Dowrick
  • Ville Lehtinen
  • Jose Luis Vazquez-Barquero
  • Patricia Casey
  • Greg Wilkinson
  • Jose Luis Ayuso-Mateos
  • Helen Page
  • Graham Dunn
  • The ODIN Group



To explore if differences in negative life events, vulnerability and social support may explain the gender difference in depression.


Cross-sectional, multinational, community survey from five European countries (n = 8,787). Depression is measured by Beck Depression Inventory, whereas negative life events and social support are measured by various questionnaires.


Women report slightly more negative life events than men do, mainly related to the social network, but more social support in general and in connection with reported life events. This trend is the same in all participating countries except Spain, where there is no gender difference in the reported support. In general, women are not more vulnerable to negative life events than men are. However, women with no social support, who are exposed to life events, are more vulnerable than men without support.


The higher rate of depression in women is not explained by gender differences in negative life events, social support or vulnerability.


depression gender social support negative life events 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag Darmstadt 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Odd Steffen Dalgard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christopher Dowrick
    • 2
  • Ville Lehtinen
    • 3
  • Jose Luis Vazquez-Barquero
    • 4
  • Patricia Casey
    • 5
  • Greg Wilkinson
    • 6
  • Jose Luis Ayuso-Mateos
    • 7
  • Helen Page
    • 8
  • Graham Dunn
    • 9
  • The ODIN Group
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute of Public healthNydalenOsloNorway
  2. 2.Dept. of Primary CareUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  3. 3.National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health STAKESMental Health R&D GroupTurkuFinland
  4. 4.Unidad de Investigacion de Psiquitria SocialHospital Universitario ‘Marqués de Valdecilla’SantanderSpain
  5. 5.Mater Misericordiae HospitalUniversity College DublinDublinIreland
  6. 6.Dept. of PsychiatryUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  7. 7.Dept. of Psychiatry Hospital Universitario de la PrincessaUniversidad Autonoma de MadridMadridSpain
  8. 8.Dept. of PsychologyChester College of Higher EducationChesterUK
  9. 9.Biostatistic Group School of Epidemiology and Health SciencesUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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