Research Reports - Depression in men and women one year following traumatic brain injury

Front Psychol. 2017 May 5;8:634. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00634. eCollection 2017.

Lavoie S(1), Sechrist S(1), Quach N(1), Ehsanian R(1)(2), Duong T(1)(3), Gotlib
IH(4), Isaac L(1)(3).

In the general population, females experience depression at significantly higher
rates than males. Individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) are at
substantially greater risk for depression compared to the overall population.
Treatment of, and recovery from, TBI can be hindered by depression; comorbid TBI
and depression can lead to adverse outcomes and negatively affect multiple
aspects of individuals' lives. Gender differences in depression following TBI are
not well understood, and relevant empirical findings have been mixed. Utilizing
the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) 1 year after TBI, we examined whether
women would experience more severe depressive symptoms, and would endorse higher
levels of depression within each category of depression severity, than would men.
Interestingly, and contrary to our hypothesis, men and women reported mild
depression at equal rates; PHQ-9 total scores were slightly lower in women than
in men. Men and women did not differ significantly in any PHQ-9 depression
severity category. Item analyses, yielded significant gender differences on the
following items: greater concentration difficulties (cognitive problems) in men
and more sleep disturbances (psychosomatic issues) in women per uncorrected
two-sample Z-test for proportions analyses; however, these results were not
significant after the family-wise Bonferroni correction. Our results indicate
that, in contrast to the general population, mild depression in persons with
moderate to severe TBI may not be gender-specific. These findings underscore the
need for early identification, active screening, and depression treatment equally
for men and women to improve emotional well-being, promote recovery, and enhance
quality of life following TBI. 

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