Text Size

Twice as many women as men succumb to depression during any given year.

Scientists can't yet explain this huge gender gap, but they have some theories about what makes women more vulnerable:

Hormonal differences

Fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone during a monthly menstrual cycle cause premenstrual syndrome, and in some women, may cause a very severe form of PMS known as PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a form of cyclical depression.

PMDD causes symptoms of PMS severe enough to cause problems in daily life.


Having a baby increases a woman's chances of depression. The causes of postpartum depression remain unknown, but are likely a combination of hormonal and environmental factors, combined with the stress of care giving.

Infertility may also cause stress, anxiety and depressed mood, which may lead to a clinical condition.


The fluctuating hormonal levels of perimenopause and menopause, as well as the changing estrogen levels after menopause, can all increase a woman's risk of depressive symptoms.

Women who experienced an earlier in life episode of depression may be at greater risk during menopause.


Living in poverty increases the risks of depression. Women, especially single mothers, are at greater risk of poverty than men.


Women may experience lower pay or underemployment as a consequence of their gender. Stress, powerlessness and frustration emerging from discrimination can increase the risks of depression.

Care Giving Stress

Stress is a major cause of depression and women are at greater risk of care giving stress. Women are more likely to be single parents than men and are more likely the caregiver tending to the needs of multi generational extended family relatives.

Trauma or Abuse

Women are more likely than men to suffer sexual abuse or trauma.

Email It Send this page Print It Print friendly page Subscribe Subscribe to this topic category

Page last updated Sep 29, 2012

Creative Commons License
Copyright Notice
We welcome republishing of our content on condition that you credit Choose Help and the respective authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Helpful Reading
Overcoming Depression: Feeling Good Again with Mindfulness
Mindfulness and Depression: Learning to Feel Good Again © Premasagar
How Mindfulness can overcome depression, teach us how to ignore unwanted thoughts and help us choose what is healthy for ourselves. Read Article
Depression Treatment August 30, 2022
Use Gut Bacteria to Fight Anxiety and Depression
Gut Bacteria Protect Your Mental Health. Learn How to Protect Your Microbiome © NIAID
Imbalanced gut bacteria may increase your risk of anxiety, depression, obesity and a host of other diseases. Learn how digestive bacteria can cause anxiety and find out how dietary changes can help you instill or protect an optimal balance of beneficial bacteria. Read Article
Co-Occurring Disorders September 06, 2017
Dealing with Depression and Chronic Pain Learn how opioids can lead to depression, how depression worsens pain and what to do when you have both pain and depression. Read Article
Pain & Opioid Issues April 07, 2015
Like Our Site? Follow Us!

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.

Find Treatment
Browse by region »