UW-Madison bridge

A new analysis from UW-Madison confirmed that women are more than twice as likely as men to have depression, and girls are more than three times as likely to have depression than men.

The Capital Times archives

A new UW-Madison study found women are twice as likely to have depression, and the gap in mental health between genders begins at age 12. UW professor Janet Hyde said a gender gap in mental health has been known in the scientific community for decades but had not been confirmed on a scale as large as this study.

The study — researched by Hyde, UW Professor Lyn Abramson and doctoral student Rachel Salk — also found the age the gap between genders starts is lower than previously thought. Starting at age 12, girls are more than three times as likely to have depression than boys.

The study has no original research but is a combination of two meta-analyses based on previously conducted studies that looked at more than 3.5 million people in more than 90 countries.

“For a long while, I wondered why nobody had done this,” Hyde said in a UW press statement, “but once I got into it, I realized it’s because there is too much data, and nobody had the courage to plow through it all.”

Hyde said depression should not be treated as a women’s issue based on this study because one-third of people affected by depression are still men.

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Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.