Gender Divide among Interns Experiencing Depression

By Steve Barrett
Thursday, March 1, 2018

Responsibilities related to family and work are a significant factor in why female interns report a higher incidence of depression symptoms than their male counterparts do, according to a study by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and the University of Michigan.

“We don’t see a gender difference in depression before the start of internship year or after internship,” Connie Guille, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at MUSC, said in a news release. “It’s during internship year that we see that women have a greater risk for depression.”

The study recruited more than 3,000 interns from across numerous specialties.

The conflict between the duties of an intern and his or her home responsibilities can lead to depression among both men and women, Guille notes. However, depression is already more common among women than among men in the general population, and researchers cite the predisposition of some women to put the needs of others ahead of their own as an additional factor that may help explain female interns’ comparatively higher incidence of depression.

More interventions are necessary to address depression among interns of both genders, Guille says.

The findings appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine.