Study: Men more prone to depression after breakup Published: 2007-05-23 TORONTO — The stereotype might be that a man relishes trading his wife for a fast car or a younger woman, but a new study finds that men appear to take separation harder than women.
While both men and women whose marriages have dissolved have a higher risk of being depressed than people who remained with their spouses, a Statistics Canada study found that men who had divorced or separated were six times more likely to report an episode of depression compared with men who remained married.
Women who had undergone marital breakups were 3.5 times more likely to have had bouts of depression than their counterparts who were still in relationships.
The survey found that 12 per cent of people who were no longer in a relationship reported a new episode of depression, while just three per cent of those who remained in a relationship had suffered new depression.
Michelle Rotermann, the author of the study, said she was surprised, and also not surprised, by the results.
“On the one hand we know depression in general tends to be more common among women, but there is also a lot of evidence that shows that men have fewer social supports and social support does seem to play a role,” she said.
“Perhaps one of the reasons why men are more at risk of experiencing subsequent depression is because one of their main sources of social support is their partner, their spouse, and now she is no longer there,” said Rotermann, an analyst at Statistics Canada.
Nineteen per cent of men who were no longer with their spouse found a decline in social support, while only six per cent of men who remained in a relationship found a drop. Among women the proportions were 11 per cent for those no longer in a relationship and five for those who were.
Jenni Tipper, a research associate with the Vanier Institute of the Family in Ottawa, said “typically women are much better at building and maintaining social supports, which isn’t often the case for men.”
After a breakup, women tended to live in households with an income ranking far below that of their male counterparts.
The study was based on longitudinal data from the National Population Health Survey, which was taken at two-year intervals between 1994 and 2005.
’Perhaps one of the reasons why men are more at risk of experiencing subsequent depression is because one of their main sources of social support is their partner, their spouse, and now she is no longer there.’
By LORRAYNE ANTHONY The Canadian Press