Sex differences in anxiety and depression clinical perspectives

Front Neuroendocrinol. 2014 Aug;35(3):320-30. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2014.05.004. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


Sex differences are prominent in mood and anxiety disorders and may provide a window into mechanisms of onset and maintenance of affective disturbances in both men and women. With the plethora of sex differences in brain structure, function, and stress responsivity, as well as differences in exposure to reproductive hormones, social expectations and experiences, the challenge is to understand which sex differences are relevant to affective illness. This review will focus on clinical aspects of sex differences in affective disorders including the emergence of sex differences across developmental stages and the impact of reproductive events. Biological, cultural, and experiential factors that may underlie sex differences in the phenomenology of mood and anxiety disorders are discussed.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Development; Hormones; Puberty; Sex difference.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*