Gender-role differences in susceptibility to the influence of support availability on depression

J Pers. 1999 Jun;67(3):439-67. doi: 10.1111/1467-6494.00061.


Previous gender-role research on depression has revealed a consistent inverse relationship between masculinity and depression, but a non-significant relationship between femininity and depression. In light of the stronger affiliative needs for feminine individuals, received social support was speculated to moderate the relationship between femininity and depression in the present research. In a longitudinal study of a sample of Hong Kong college students, the relationships among gender-role orientation, received social support, and depression were examined. Consistent with previous findings, masculinity and androgyny were inversely related to depression. Moreover, the present study supplemented previous research by revealing that femininity was related to depression through its interaction with received social support. When the amount of received social support was increased, femininity was associated with a reduction in depression level over time. In contrast, when the amount of received social support was decreased, depression tended to increase with femininity over time. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for the gender-role literature.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Personality Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Support*