Business Communication Research Report

Who Is More Depressed?

GROUP MEMBERS AAZAR ALI SHAD FOUZIA ARIF FARIHA SAMAD BBA-IV

5/29/2010

Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

Table of Contents
Executive Summary ................................................................................................................................. 3 Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 4 Research Design and Methodology .......................................................................................................... 5 The Sample .......................................................................................................................................... 5 Research variables and measures......................................................................................................... 5 Propositions/Hypotheses ..................................................................................................................... 5 Data Analysis Procedure ...................................................................................................................... 5 Presentation and Analysis of Empirical Results......................................................................................... 7 Hypothesis I - Men are less depressed than women ........................................................................... 7 Hypothesis II - Youngsters have a greater tendency for depression .................................................. 11 Combined Results .............................................................................................................................. 13 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................. 15 Appendix ............................................................................................................................................... 16 References............................................................................................................................................. 18

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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

Executive Summary
While men and women are basically the same when it comes to the mechanics of depression, there are some subtle differences in male and female depression due to society's expectations of what being a particular gender means, as well as hormonal differences. The aim of this study was to analyze the depression levels in the male and female population of Karachi, as well as the levels of depression in three age groups which maybe broadly categorized as adolescents/young adults (17-25yrs), adults (26-39 yrs) and middle aged (40-60yrs). The survey was carried out through a comprehensive questionnaire. The results of the research concluded that male are less depressed than women in the society and youngsters included in the survey do have a higher tendency for depression compared to people in the middle aged groups but lower than those above 40. The susceptibility of depression in women is so high, because of environmental factors which include the gender stereotypes and identity roles. Other factors unique to women are suspected to play a role in developing depression and include reproductive, hormonal, genetic or other biological factors; abuse and oppression; interpersonal factors; and certain psychological and personality characteristics. Also the fall of depression in early adulthood and rise in late life mostly reflects life-cycle gains and losses in marriage, employment, and economic well-being. Depression reaches its highest level in adults above 40, because physical dysfunction and low personal control add to personal and status losses. However, some of the differences among age groups in depression reflect higher education in younger generations, and some reflect different rates of survival across demographic groups that also vary in their levels of depression.

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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

Introduction
Almost everyone feels sad sometimes, but most often sad moods are transitory, reactions to negative experiences - separation, loss, failure, family conflict - and do not necessarily portend depression. However, when sad feelings persist over time and color the way a person functions, he or she may be experiencing clinical depression. The term 'depression' is often used to refer to a depressive mood, which may be transient; it also refers to a diagnosis of an illness known as a clinical depression.1 Understandably, ³the number of people diagnosed as depressed keeps going up,´ says a report in the Los Angeles Times, ³and the age of onset [of depression] keeps going down« Antidepressants are on the drug company best-seller list.´ Anxiety and depressive disorders are common in all regions of the world. They constitute a substantial proportion of the global burden of disease, and are projected to form the second most common cause of disability by 2020. This increased importance of non-communicable diseases such as anxiety and depressive disorders presents a particular challenge for low income countries, where infectious diseases and malnutrition are still rife and where only a low percentage of gross domestic product is allocated to health services. These disorders are also important because of their economic consequences. With an estimated population of 152 million, Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world. It is projected that, by 2050, the population will have increased to make it the fourth most populous country.2 In Pakistan, one in three people are anxious or depressed. Socioeconomic adversity and relationship problems are major risk factors for anxiety and depressive disorders in Pakistan. In a review of 20 studies, Mirza and Jenkins found that the prevalence of anxiety and depression in Pakistan was 33%. Being anxious or depressed was associated with female sex, middle age, low level of education, difficulties with finances, being a housewife, and relationship problems; a supportive family and friends may be of help.3 Also, for the past 30 years or so, all over the world, women have experienced depression about twice as frequently as men. Some researchers even quote a female-male ratio of 3:1 for depression.4 For major depression which is more impairing than a number of other medical conditions, the ratio has been reported as four women for every man, although rates vary with ethnicity and culture.5

NYU child study centre http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/328/7443/794 3 http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/328/7443/0-b 4 Klerman & Weissman, 1989; Wetzel, 1994 5 Sileo, 1990
2

1

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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

Research Design and Methodology
Objective of the Study This study aims to analyze the relationship between the rate of depression and gender and age differences in the population of Karachi, one of the biggest urban centers of Pakistani. The research goes on further to investigate which of the two genders is more depressed and to suggest some of the antecedents of depression in either gender. Methodology After thorough literature review of online sources and magazine articles related to previous researches and studies done on similar topics, a comprehensive questionnaire was designed as an instrument for gathering survey data. The raw data was then statistically arranged into a structured and analytical form for drawing inferences.

The Sample
Questionnaires were distributed among a total of 30 people belonging to three different age groups; y y y 17-25 years 26-40 years 40-60 years

Efforts were made to ensure the sample size consisted of people belonging to different family and educational backgrounds, localities and professions.

Research variables and measures
The variables measured in the questionnaire included the participant¶s age, gender and depression level using rating based questions.

Propositions/Hypotheses
I. II. Men are less depressed than women. Youngsters have a greater tendency for depression.

Data Analysis Procedure
The questionnaire consisted of a set of 26 statements and the participants were given a choice of either strongly agreeing, just agreeing, disagreeing or strongly disagreeing to them. Individual depression scores were then calculated on a scale of 1 to 4 where 4 was the highest level of depression. The questions were divided into two sets depending on the use of negation words. The first set included questions that were phrased negatively and hence agreement would indicate a higher degree of depression.
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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

Examples of questions in this set include: o o o o o I don¶t feel particularly pleased with the way I am. I am not particularly optimistic about the future. I don¶t find it easy to make decisions. I do not think that the world is a good place. I don¶t think I look attractive.

Note the use of the words µnot¶, µdon¶t¶ and µdo not¶ in these statements. The score criterion for such questions was as follows: Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 4 3 2 1

The second set included questions phrased positively. Examples of questions in this set include: o o o o o I am well satisfied about everything in my life. I feel able to take anything on. I feel I have a great deal of energy. I can fit in (find time for) everything I want to do. Life is good.

Agreement to these questions indicated a lower degree of depression and hence the score criterion for such questions was as follows: Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4

The purpose of the survey was not disclosed to the participants to nullify any psychological effect that could cause them to choose answers that reflected their perception of their own depression level. Once individual scores had been calculated, an average score for each of the three age groups and the genders was calculated. Conclusions are based on these average scores.

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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

Presentation and Analysis of Empirical Results
Hypothesis I - Men are less depressed than women
The following table presents the average scores of males and females. Gender Male Female Average Score 2.410 2.487

Considering females have a higher average score of depression, the hypothesis; µMen are less depressed than women¶ holds true for people of Karachi. There are several reasons put forth by studies conducted in the past that state why women are more susceptible to depression. Gender Roles A woman¶s role as a wife, worker, mother, and caretaker contribute to the levels of everyday stress. The qualities of each of these roles are looked at differently through the eyes of women and men. In reference to marriage, it typically has value and merit if two partners love each other. However, the quality of marriage is more strongly related to home life satisfaction for women compared to men (Denmark & Paludi, 1993). This difference may be attributed to gender differences in the psychological purpose of marriage. Males may have more instrumental gains from marriage (e.g., in the form of services, such as housekeeping). Females, who have fewer alternatives, may invest more emotionally in their marital roles (Denmark & Paludi, 1993). From this it can clearly be stated that these differences may result in tension between two partners. And thus may result in depressive feelings for women that may leave them feeling as if they were servants to their husbands, not companions. Women reported higher rates of their partners as less caring and as more likely to be a depressogenic stressor (Wilhelm & Roy, 2002). An additional role that women partake in that is parallel to marital roles is parental roles. These roles are very closely related, because marriage may be the main basis to raise children. Because women have been labeled in the past as child caretakers, this stereotype has been hard to break. There are very few families in our society that have males as the primary caretaker of their children. Women even if employed, spend about 70 hours a week with their children. On the opposite spectrum, fathers¶ involvement with children average about 30 hours a week and do not significantly vary with wives¶ employment (Denmark & Paludi, 1993). The average level of role strain for mothers who have careers was not greatly affected. However, women who are employed feel dissatisfaction with the amount of time they are allotted for their children and spouse. However, because of stereotypes and misconceptions women tend not to complain about
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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

their gender roles. Ratings by fathers revealed that the more time the mother spent, relative to him, in child care tasks, the greater his satisfaction with her work schedule and her overall time allocation (Denmark & Paludi, 1993). Similarly to that statement, men¶s perceptions over sharing tasks appeared to depend only on how satisfied they were with the division of tasks. Thus, many men appear to be happy when they are not sharing in domestic tasks, and the fact that they know their wives are not happy about it does not lower their marital satisfaction (Denmark & Paludi, 1993). Through the analysis of these two gender roles, it is evident that women are dissatisfied with their gender responsibilities. Women are faced with the problem of how to make their lives meaningful. With decreasing family size, increasing longevity, and increased self-expectation, the time over which the married woman undertakes other roles in addition to being a mother is becoming longer (Weissman & Paykel, 1974). Gender Idenities Correspondingly with gender roles; come gender identities. The gender stereotypes can be said to affect gender identities the most severely. Stereotypes that women should be beautiful and refined are ones that influence the Pakistani culture to a great extent. Some researchers have suggested that information about physical appearance, and in particular physical attractiveness, might be more crucial to impression of women than of men (Denmark & Paludi, 1993). Girls show less satisfaction with their physical appearance than do boys, starting in third grade (Hankin & Abramson, 2001). In modern times the idea that "thin is beautiful" has become the socially accepted norm. The media publicizes what is beautiful; and more often than not women don¶t seem to equate to these looks. Thus, these contributing factors if taken to the extreme can result in dangerous feelings and habits, such as depression and eating disorders. When in reference to women, these two disorders are extremely comorbid with each other. Eating disorders result in mental and physical health problems. Two of the most widespread eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. Symptoms of these eating disorders are: obsession with weight, frequent and long trips to the bathroom (often with running water), food rituals (shifting food around, cutting food into tiny pieces, or keeping utensils from touching lips, hiding food), hair loss, and pale or "gray" skin. "These symptoms can be linked with women, since more women have been diagnosed with lifetime histories of eating disorder than men" (Hankin & Abramson, 2001). Anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and specific phobia, have been largely and functionally linked to depressive thoughts that affect women and adolescent girls.

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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

Biological Factors Hormonal regulation largely affects the rate of depression in women. It is certain that women experience many more hormonal changes than do men (due to childbirth, premenstrual syndrome, menstruation, contraceptive drugs, postpartum period, and menopause) (Formanek & Gurian, 1987).The increase in depression rates can also be attributed to, women feeling less womanly. These thoughts can occur at menopausal stages because women become infertile and feel they have aged and are elderly. In addition it is true that men tend to value attractiveness and youth in their mates much more than do women (Ben Hamida, Mineka & Bailey, 1998).6 Women's reproductive events include the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, the post pregnancy period, infertility, menopause, and sometimes, the decision not to have children. These events bring fluctuations in mood that for some women include depression. Researchers have confirmed that hormones have an effect on brain chemistry. Changes in emotions and mood often result. Many women experience certain behavioral and physical changes associated with phases of their menstrual cycles. In some women, these changes are severe, occur regularly, and include depressed feelings, irritability, and other emotional and physical changes. Postpartum depressions can range from transient "blues" following childbirth to severe, incapacitating, psychotic depressions. Pregnancy (if it is desired) seldom contributes to depression, and having an abortion does not appear to lead to a higher incidence of depression. Women with infertility problems may be subject to extreme anxiety or sadness, though it is unclear if this contributes to a higher rate of depressive illness. In addition, young motherhood may be a time of heightened risk for depression, due to the increased stress.
Personality and psychology

Studies show that individuals with certain characteristics-- pessimistic thinking, low self-esteem, a sense of having little control over life events, and proneness to excessive worrying-- are more likely to develop depression. These attributes may heighten the effect of stressful events or interfere with taking action to cope with them. Some experts have suggested that the traditional upbringing of girls might foster these traits and that may be a factor in the higher rate of depression in women.
Victimization

Studies show that women molested as children are more likely to have clinical depression at some time in their lives than those with no such history. In addition, several studies show a higher incidence of depression among women who were raped as adults. Since far more women than men were sexually abused as children, these findings are relevant. Women who experience other commonly occurring forms of abuse, such as physical abuse and sexual harassment on the

6

http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/mule.html

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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

job, also may experience higher rates of depression. Abuse may lead to depression by fostering low self-esteem, a sense of helplessness, self-blame, and social isolation. Family factors Family factors such as the quality of the parents' marriage, parenting style, role modeling and the emotional status of the parents are related to depression in girls. Research shows that daughters whose parents have an egalitarian relationship, and daughters whose parents are supportive, attentive, receptive to emotions, rather than punishing and restricting, show lower levels of depression. Research results also indicate that girls are more likely than boys to react to negative events in the family. Adolescent girls, closely bound to their families, are more likely to be exposed to family stresses over a longer period of time. Girls learn about being female from modeling themselves on their mothers. In addition to the genetic factor, children of depressed mothers are vulnerable to emotional problems. In a 10-year follow-up study of the children of depressed mothers, the daughters, not the sons, were found to have low self-esteem. Female development throughout the lifespan, according to self-in-relation theorists, is based on the importance of attachment and relationships. Some experts think that females' tendency to place greater value than males do on interpersonal connection and relationships with other people renders them more vulnerable to losses and depression. Therefore it can be concluded that the susceptibility of depression, is largely affected by environmental roles and must be taken into account for when comparing women and men.

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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

Hypothesis II - Youngsters have a greater tendency for depression
The following table presents the average scores of each of the three age groups. Age Group 17-25 26-39 40-60 Average Score 2.367 2.275 2.644

The United Nations, for statistical purposes, defines µyouth¶, as persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years.7 Based on this definition, youngsters included in the survey do have a higher tendency for depression compared to adults but lower than those above 40 i.e. in their middle age. Also the rate of depression tends to increase as people approach middle age. According to a research, one possible reason for the increasing rate of depression in middle age may be that people realize they won¶t achieve many of their aspirations.8 The fall of depression in early adulthood and rise in late life mostly reflects life-cycle gains and losses in marriage, employment, and economic well-being. Depression reaches its highest level in adults above 40 years, because physical dysfunction and low personal control add to personal and status losses. However, some of the differences among age groups in depression reflect higher education in younger generations. Symptoms of depression in youngsters include storminess, apparent exhaustion, apathy, irritability, and rapid-fire changes in every realm, including appetite and sleep habits. Staying up late and sleeping until noon or throwing over one interest in favor of others probably doesn't signal depression. But constant exhaustion and an unexplained withdrawal from friends and activities a child once enjoyed are reasons for concern. Because depression often coexists with behavioral problems, anxiety, or substance abuse, experts consider a wide range of potential indicators, such as these:
y y y y y
7 8

poor performance in school or frequent absences efforts or threats to run away from home bursts of unexplained irritability, shouting, or crying markedly increasing hostility or anger abuse of alcohol, drugs, or other dangerous substances

http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/qanda.htm Middle age prone to depression by Michael Kahn - http://www.dawn.com/2008/01/30/int12.htm

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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

y y y

social isolation or loss of interest in friends hypersensitivity to rejection or failure reckless behavior.

Depressed youngsters don't oversleep or act sluggish as often as depressed adults do, but otherwise, the symptoms of depressive disorders in children, teenagers, and adults are generally similar

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Combined Results
Males 2.115 2.218 2.654 Females 2.462 2.317 2.635

17 25 26 39 40 60

As depicted by the table, more adolescent females than males and more adult women than men experience depression. However, the depression level of males in old age increases drastically and is approximately equal to that of women. This is in line with the research findings of NolenHoeksema, Larson, & Grayson in 1999 according to which "Gender differences in depressive symptoms appear to emerge in early adolescence and then remains throughout the adult life span". 9 Consistent findings indicate that adolescent girls develop depressive symptoms at an earlier age than do adolescent boys. Emerging gender differences can be caused by individual vulnerability, life stress, and pubertal transitional challenge. A 4-year longitudinal study of community adolescent girls found the peak risk for the onset of binge eating to occur at 16 and the peak onset for purging to occur at age 18 (Hankin & Abramson, 2001). These eating disorders seem to be age appropriate, because at these times girls are very aware of their appearances. The awareness or sensitivity may be caused between the ages of 16 and 18, because it is a prime time to prepare for physical relationships with the opposite sex. Girls fear rejection so much that they are willing to put the needs, interests, and desire of others above their own (Smolak & Fairman, 2002). Women most obviously want to be desired by the opposite sex and in result go to great lengths to appear attractive. The extent to which women are concerned with their appearances may become quiet frightening and create severe depressive cognitions. Hence adolescent females are more depressed than adolescent males. Another potential reason for the susceptibility of depression in young girls is that they are at a much higher risk for the potential to be raped or sexually assaulted in our society. Also in adolescence roles and expectations change dramatically. The stresses of adolescence include forming an identity, confronting sexuality, separating from parents, and making decisions for the first time, along with other physical, intellectual, and hormonal changes. These stresses are generally different for boys and girls, and may be associated more often with depression in females. Some researchers have suggested that men and women differ in their

9

http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/mule.html

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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

expression of emotional problems. In adolescence, boys are more likely to develop behavioral and substance abuse problems, while girls are more likely to become depressed. 10

10

http://www.psychologyinfo.com/depression/women.htm

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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

Conclusion
Available evidence suggests a major social cause for anxiety and depressive disorders in Pakistan. One of the causes of rising depression maybe the growing political instability and prevalent uncertainty in the society which may lead the general population to become more and more insecure of their futures. This evidence, however, is limited because of methodological problems, so caution must be exercised in generalizing this to the whole of the population of Pakistan. Factors positively associated with anxiety and depressive disorders were female sex, middle age, low level of education, financial difficulty, being a housewife, and relationship problems. Those who have close confiding relationships are less likely to have anxiety and depressive disorders.

Recommendations There were no rigorously controlled trials of treatments for depressive disorders. Pakistani women are relatively better off than their counterparts in other developing countries of South Asia. However, fundamental changes are required to improve their quality of life. It is imperative that constructive steps be taken to implement women friendly laws and opportunity be provided for cross-cultural learning. Strategies should be devised to enhance the status of women as useful members of the society. Limitations The survey was limited to the population of Karachi only

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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

APPENDIX
QUESTIONNAIRE
Age: 17-25 26-39 40-60 Gender: Male Female 1. I don t feel particularly pleased with the way I am. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 2. I am intensely interested in other people. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 3. I feel that life is very rewarding. Strongly agree Agree Disagree

Strongly Disagree

4. I have very warm feelings towards almost everyone. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 5. I rarely wake up feeling rested. Strongly agree Agree Disagree

Strongly Disagree

6. I am not particularly optimistic about the future. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 7. I find most things amusing. Strongly agree Agree Disagree 8. Life is good. Strongly agree

Strongly Disagree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

9. I do not think that the world is a good place. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 10. I laugh a lot. Strongly agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

11. I am well satisfied about everything in my life. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 12. I don t think I look attractive. Strongly agree Agree Disagree

Strongly Disagree

13. There is a gap between what I would like to do and what I have done.
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Strongly agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

14. I find beauty in some things. Strongly agree Agree Disagree

Strongly Disagree

15. I always have a cheerful effect on others. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 16. I can fit in (find time for) everything I want to do. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 17. I feel that I am not especially in control of my life. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 18. I feel able to take anything on. Strongly agree Agree Disagree 19. I often experience joy and elation. Strongly agree Agree Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Strongly Disagree

20. I don t find it easy to make decisions. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 21. I don t have a particular sense of meaning and purpose in my life. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 22. I feel I have a great deal of energy. Strongly agree Agree Disagree

Strongly Disagree

23. I usually have a good influence on events. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 24. I don t have fun with other people. Strongly agree Agree Disagree 25. I don t feel particularly healthy. Strongly agree Agree Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Strongly Disagree

26. I don t have particularly happy memories of the past. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Thank you for your time!

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Business Communications Research Report- Who is More Depressed?

References
1. National Institute of Mental Health; website http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1414670/ 2. NYU child study centre 3. 4. NYU child study centre http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/328/7443/794 http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/328/7443/0-b 5. Klerman & Weissman, 1989; Wetzel, 1994 6. Sileo, 1990

7. http://www.meaningandhappiness.com/oxford-happiness-questionnaire/214/ 8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1401846 9. http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/mule.html

10. http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/qanda.htm 11. Middle age prone to depression by Michael Kahn http://www.dawn.com/2008/01/30/int12.htm 12. http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/mule.html 13. http://www.psychologyinfo.com/depression/women.htm

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