Gender differences in depressive response: The role of social support

Alisha Ali, Brenda B. Toner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study investigated the possibility that women's ruminative response style to stressful events is due in part to differential advice that women and men receive from their social support networks. Undergraduates (60 men, 136 women) of various ethnic backgrounds (e.g., 21.4% English, 16.8% West Indian, 12.8% Chinese, 10.7% Italian) indicated the extent to which they would endorse various statements of advice for a stimulus person described as experiencing a negative life event. As predicted, subjects endorsed more ruminative advice for female stimulus persons than for male stimulus persons (p < .02). These findings imply that, since females in stressful situations seem more likely to receive ruminative advice than do their male counterparts, women's greater vulnerability to depressive symptoms may be partly the result of the concomitant dangers of stressful events and potentially harmful advice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-293
Number of pages13
JournalSex Roles
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Sep 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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