evolutionary significance of emotions !!

Nick Medford nick at hermit0.demon.co.uk
Fri Mar 3 13:31:36 EST 2000

In article <89nql5$nnt$2 at nntp.Stanford.EDU>, Larisa Migachyov
<lvm at Stanford.EDU> writes
> Has anyone investigated why the risk of depression in women is
>> >25 times greater than that in men?  
>>  No, because it isn't. Lifetime prevalence for depression is generally quoted at
>>  2.5 - 4.5% for men and 5 - 9% (i.e. roughly twice as high) for women. Peak
>>  age of onset is in the 30s for women and in the 40s for men. 
>>  One factor that contributes to the increased prevalence in women is the
>>  relatively common phenomenon of post-natal depression. One could
>>  certainly argue that cultural and social factors may play a role too.
>Ah, that makes a bit more sense.  I was reading some kind of fluff the
>other day that correlates marriage with depression in women; are there any
>solid statistical studies that support that, or is it just fluff?

There is (unsurprisingly) a strong correlation between broken marriages and
depression, while in old age having a spouse is one of the best protections
AGAINST depression (for both sexes). But I do vaguely recall reading that
amongst younger women, depression rates were lower among the unmarried.
However it was in a national newspaper rather than a scientific journal, and
in my experience the mass media's presentations of medical/scientific issues
should usually be taken with a large pinch of salt. I honestly don't know
whether there is any respectable research underlying it.

Nick Medford

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