Gender, aging, and major depressive disorder in Ukraine

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Chamberlin, Margaret Shively

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The World Health Organization has made global mental health a priority since making it the center of world health day 2001, yet much of the current literature on mental health examines the subject within the context of the U.S. and Western Europe. This research takes a more global approach, shifting the focus to the issue of depression in Ukraine. Specifically this thesis analyzes data to examine the hypotheses that: 1) a statistically significant relationship exists between gender and depression prevalence in Ukraine; 2) women over the age of 50 in Ukraine have a significantly higher chance of suffering from depression than other age groups, unlike trends described in the literature; and 3) there are socio-economic and social factors present in Ukraine, which impact depression prevalence among women. A mixed-methodology, which utilizes analysis of quantitative data from the World Mental Health survey initiative, completed in Ukraine in 2004, and qualitative interview data, was employed to explore these hypotheses. Strong relationships are found between gender and depression and between depression and aging, particularly past the age of 50. Some socio-demographics of significance include low level of education, very inadequate financial resources and being on a pension. The conclusions that result from this analysis, describe an interesting case for assessment of global mental health issues. While the results are perhaps not generalizable far beyond Ukraine the conclusions drawn have interesting implications for how we study global mental health and the characteristics which make a person more or less vulnerable to mental illness.



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