Depression in later life: A closer look at the gender gap

Francesco Acciai, Melissa Hardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Gender differences in depressive symptoms have been extensively documented, with women reporting a higher number of depressive symptoms than men. However, studies offer different explanations for why such a gap exists. The goal of the current paper is to analyze how much of the observed gender gap in depression may be attributed to (1) compositional versus (2) reporting differences or (3) differences in reactivity to adversities. We contribute to this literature by testing, net of compositional differences, whether the relationship between reporting behavior and depressive symptoms is gendered and whether accounting for the possibility of gender-specific reactivity alters the structure of the gender gap at older ages. Our results show that the observed gender gap in depression (1) only partially derives from compositional differences; (2) is not an artifact of a gender-specific reporting style; and remarkably (3) men appear more sensitive to adversities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-175
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science Research
StatePublished - Nov 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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