Balancing work and family makes women prone to depression

5 Sep

The balancing act of work and family tips many women over the edge into depression, according to a report into mental health across Europe.

Women aged between 16 and 42 are more than twice as likely as men to suffer from depression, and  women aged 25 to 40 are three to four times more likely than men to become depressed. The rates of depression in women have doubled since the 1970s – which parallels the increase in the number of working mothers, suggesting that the quest to ‘have it all’ is taking it toll on some women (who perhaps don’t have the support networks or the options to help them achieve a healthy balance in their lives).

Professor Hans Ulrich Wittchen, one of the study authors, from Dresden University of Technology in Germany, said: “In depression we see 2.6 times higher rates among women, which interestingly and importantly clusters in the reproductive years between the ages of 16 and 42. It’s not this increase after 45 – getting older – that some people think it is. In women, we see these higher rates of depressive episodes at times when they have their babies: they have to cope with the double responsibility of job and family.”

The study, published in European Neuropsychopharmacology, covers 30 countries including the UK, and reveals that 38.2% of people are suffering from mental health issues, such as anxiety, insomnia and depression.

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