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Carolyn Writes:

Question:

Hello, I was wondering if you have observed any differences or similarities between heterosexuals and homosexuals and their reaction to depression? I have seen some literature inferring similarities of female reactions and homosexuals when depressed. I have been trying to find some research on this topic, but it is scarce. Thank you

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Answer:

You’re right. Research on this topic is obscure and often contradictory. Some research reveals that gay men may rely more heavily on alcohol or other addictions as a means of coping with their depression. Some researchers also claim that the rate of successful suicide is higher among homosexual males. These outcomes and styles of coping parallel coping methods of heterosexual males. Contradictory research claims that the incidence of suicide among younger homosexuals may be no greater than in the population at large. Further studies suggest that homosexual males commonly embrace feminine qualities and behavior, as well as similar coping techniques. It is then assumed that gay men are likely to respond to depression much like women do. They will dwell on depressive thoughts, which only adds to the depressive state. Unlike men, women do not turn to outside sources (alcohol, drugs, etc.). Women are at higher risk than men for major depression (although some researchers maintain that depression is underdiagnosed in men.) Various research and statistics show that one in four women is likely to experience severe depression. Women who are more passive, dependent, pessimistic, or negative in their attitudes are more likely to become depressed, particularly if they dwell on their bad feelings. Some sites you may want to check out include: http://www.apa.org/pubinfo/depress.html http://www.leaderu.com/offices/rekers/docs/cross.html Good luck with everything. – Anne

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