Gender gap in health service utilisation and outcomes of depression: a cross-country longitudinal analysis of European middle-aged and older adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research has shown that health service utilisation for depression (HSUD) is less common among men than women. However, most evidence is cross-sectional, and there is limited information about gendered outcomes of depression. This cross-country study assesses gender differences in HSUD and in the persistence of depression by using cross-sectional and longitudinal data. We used data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), from 5428 participants between 50 and 80 from nine European countries, fulfilling criteria for depression in Wave 5 (assessed by the EURO-D depression scale). We modelled non-HSUD among all those depressed in Wave 5 (“cross-sectional data”) and those not depressed in Wave 4 (“longitudinal data”), and the persistence of depression in Wave 6, as a function of gender. We used logistic regressions adjusted for age, marital status, country, education, financial strain, and severity of depression. Non-HSUD was more likely among depressed men than women in both cross-sectional (82.4% vs 73.2%, OR = 1.54, 99%CI = 1.54–1.55) and longitudinal analyses (94.4% vs 88.3%, OR = 2.27, 99%CI = 2.25–2.29). Gender differences were greater among low-educated participants and those with less pronounced financial strain. Among those with HSUD, men were more likely to remain depressed (62.3%, OR = 2.26, 99%CI = 2.22–2.30). Among those without HSUD, depression was more likely to persist among women (45.4%, OR = 0.79, 99%CI = 0.78–0.79). Results suggest that cross-sectional analyses underestimate men's disadvantage in HSUD. Interventions are needed to improve the demand for care and treatment adequacy among men, increasing their perception of need and their mental health literacy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106847
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume153
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Europe
  • Gender differences
  • Longitudinal analysis
  • SHARE
  • Socioeconomic status

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Gender gap in health service utilisation and outcomes of depression: a cross-country longitudinal analysis of European middle-aged and older adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this