As y’all know, females and males are mostly alike—in overall intelligence, in physiology, and in how we perceive, learn, and remember. All but one of our chromosomes is unisex. Yet gender differences in mating, relating, and suffering are what grab our attention. And none more than the amazingly widespread and reliably observed gender difference in vulnerability to depression.
In this new Psychological Bulletin meta-analysis, Rachel Salk, Janet Hyde, and Lyn Abramson digest studies of gender and depression involving nearly 2 million people in 90 countries. The overall finding—that women are nearly twice as likely as men to be depressed—is what textbooks have reported. What’s more noteworthy and newsworthy, in addition to the universality of women’s greater risk of depression, is the even larger risk for girls during adolescence. As their figure, below, shows, the gender difference in major depression begins early—by puberty—and peaks in early adolescence.
The take-home lesson: For many girls, being 13- to 15-years-old can be a tough time of life.