Gender differences in major depressive disorder: Findings from the Singapore mental health study

Louisa Picco, Mythily Subramaniam, Edimansyah Abdin, Janhavi Ajit Vaingankar, Siow Ann Chong

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders worldwide and has been associated with various sociodemographic risk factors, including age, gender and ethnicity. The present study aimed to establish whether gender-specific differences relating to the prevalence and correlates of MDD exist in the Singapore adult resident population. Methods The Singapore Mental Health Study was a population-based, cross-sectional epidemiological study among Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged 18 years and above. Face-to-face interviews were completed with 6,616 respondents between December 2009 and December 2010. Psychiatric conditions were established using version 3.0 of the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). In addition, data relating to chronic medical conditions was captured using a modified version of the CIDI checklist for chronic medical conditions. Results The lifetime prevalence of MDD was higher among women (7.2%) than men (4.3%). MDD was more prevalent among men and women who were divorced/separated and widowed women, as compared to those who were single. Among men, MDD was more prevalent among Indian and other ethnicities as compared to Chinese. Of the 417 respondents with MDD, women had significantly higher odds of having generalised anxiety disorder but lower odds of having high blood pressure, as compared to men. Conclusion The study highlighted key gender-specific correlates of MDD. Given the comorbidities associated with MDD and other psychiatric disorders and/or physical illnesses, these correlates pose additional challenges for care providers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-655
Number of pages7
JournalSingapore Medical Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • Gender differences
  • Mental disorders
  • Prevalence

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