Gender-specificity of resilience in major depressive disorder

Roy H. Perlis*, Katherine Ognyanova, Alexi Quintana, Jon Green, Mauricio Santillana, Jennifer Lin, James Druckman, David Lazer, Matthew D. Simonson, Matthew A. Baum, Hanyu Chwe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: The major stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic provide an opportunity to understand the extent to which protective factors against depression may exhibit gender-specificity. Method: This study examined responses from multiple waves of a 50 states non-probability internet survey conducted between May 2020 and January 2021. Participants completed the PHQ-9 as a measure of depression, as well as items characterizing social supports. We used logistic regression models with population reweighting to examine association between absence of even mild depressive symptoms and sociodemographic features and social supports, with interaction terms and stratification used to investigate sex-specificity. Results: Among 73,917 survey respondents, 31,199 (42.2%) reported absence of mild or greater depression—11,011/23,682 males (46.5%) and 20,188/50,235 (40.2%) females. In a regression model, features associated with greater likelihood of depression-resistance included at least weekly attendance of religious services (odds ratio [OR]: 1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04–1.16) and greater trust in others (OR: 1.04 for a 2-unit increase, 95% CI: 1.02–1.06), along with level of social support measured as number of social ties available who could provide care (OR: 1.05, 95% CI: 1.02–1.07), talk to them (OR: 1.10, 95% CI: 1.07–1.12), and help with employment (OR: 1.06, 95% CI: 1.04–1.08). The first two features showed significant interaction with gender (p <.0001), with markedly greater protective effects among women. Conclusion: Aspects of social support are associated with diminished risk of major depressive symptoms, with greater effects of religious service attendance and trust in others observed among women than men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1026-1033
Number of pages8
JournalDepression and anxiety
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • SARS-CoV2
  • depression
  • major depressive disorder
  • resilience
  • resilient
  • survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Gender-specificity of resilience in major depressive disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this