Reexamining Gender and Depression: Social Ties and Mental Health among an Occupational Group

Jennifer Lutz & David Eagle ( NCSU, Sociology & Duke, Sociology )
This study extends social-psychological research on social networks and mental health by assessing cross-gender differences in social integration and the relationship between social integration and depression among United Methodist Clergy in North Carolina. The relationship between social network characteristics and mental health is expected to differ across gender, as men and women experience depression in different ways, and depression is a gender appropriate response mechanism for women in the face of unfavorable life events. Using data from the fifth wave of the Clergy Health Initiative, a longitudinal analysis of North Carolina United Methodist Clergy, this study clarifies gender differences in depression using measures of social integration within a closed occupational network of clergy. Using negative binomial regression techniques, this study assesses the relationship between indegree and outdegree on depression (PHQ-9) among clergy. A split sample analysis of women (N= 433) and men (N= 887) reveal gendered differences in the association between of social integration and depression. Specifically, outdegree shows a statistically significant negative relationship with depression for men, but not women. Indegree was not associated with depression for men or women. However, too many social ties may be detrimental to mental health for both men and women. This study adds important insight into research on social-psychology research, social networks, and organizations by expanding knowledge of how gender shapes the relationship between social integration and depression, specifically, in a male-dominated workplace.
March 26, 2018
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm | Gross Hall 230E

View Seminar Series Schedule


Social Networks And Health: It’s Who You Know


Thursday, May 19, 2016Every office has experienced it. One person contracts a cold, and before you know it the entire group is coughing and reaching for the tissues. Our social connections have incredible implications for our health, and not just because they shape the spread of communicable diseases like the common cold, the flu or even HIV.


Read the full news item

Our Center

Sparked by the confluence of a rapid rise in network techniques across the social and physical sciences, the Duke Network Analysis Center seeks to crystallize the latent talent in this area at Duke and around the triangle to build a world-premier source for cutting edge network studies. The rise of network science over the last 10 to 15 years is predicated on building scientific insight by modeling the complex patterns of connections that link primary elements to each other. The range of such work is exceedingly broad, since the unifying network abstraction is virtually content free. Thus, social network studies add relational context to our understandings of human behavior in areas as diverse as health, culture, organizations, science or politics. Similar tools are used to great advantage in biology, physics, and ecology to name just a few.