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

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