Gender Differences in Depression : The Role
Played by Paternal Attitudes of Male
Superiority and Maternal Modeling of
Gender-Related Lim itations
and Arth ur D. Lynch
City College of New York
A rean alysis of a large multi-generational ‚ predom inantly Caucasian sample
of adults foun d a large gen der differen ce in self-reported depression involving
an xiety‚ appetite an d sleep d istu rban ce‚ an d fatigu e (“anxiou s som atic
depression ”) bu t not in “pu re depression ” unaccom pan ied by m any of these
other sym ptom s‚ replicatin g earlier findin gs on high school and college sam ples.
Anxio u s somatic depressio n was prevalen t am on g wom en whose fathers
repo rted attitudes of m ale su periority an d am on g wom en whose m oth ers
reported em ph asizing the im portan ce of profession al success bu t feelin g that
the jobs they held were not respected by others. An xious som atic depression ‚
but not pu re depression ‚ was fou nd to be prevalent am ong wom en who did
not attend college and am on g those who attended college but felt that the jobs
they held were not respected by others.
The ge nder difference in depre ssive symptomatology has received a gre at
deal of atte ntion (Culbe rtson‚ 1997; McGrath‚ Keita‚ Strickland ‚ & Russo‚
1990.) Recent evide nce sugge sts that the highe r pre valence of clinical and
subclinical depression among fe males re sults because one subtype of de-
pre ssion rooted in limitations place d upon women is much more pre vale nt
among female s. Anothe r subtype of de pre ssion‚ however‚ appe ars to be
1998 Plenum Publishing Corporation
The re se arch reported he re was based on the data se t entitled A Lon gitud in al Study of
G enerations and Mental Health. These data were collected by Vern L. Bengtson and donated
to the archive of the Henry A. Murray Research Center of Radcliffe College
Massachusetts (Producer and Distributor).
To whom corre spondence should be addre ssed at Departme nt of Psychology
of New York
NY 10031; e -mail: BRSCC@CUNYV M.CUNY.EDU.