We often hear that men and women are “wired” differently, and those differences impact how we respond to certain situations. Take stress, for example. In looking at how stressful situations impact our mental health, a new study reveals women may be far better off than men in the long run.
Researchers from the University of Michigan recently analyzed 25 years of data involving nearly 4,000 men and women. Based on their findings, they believe men are more likely to suffer from long-term depression based on their response to stress.
Lead author Dr. Shervin Assari believes that while women may be exposed to more stress throughout their lives—and typically starting at an earlier age than men—they are better able to adapt to stress and manage their depressive symptoms through communication and using available resources. Their male counterparts, on the other hand, have a harder time.
According to their findings, men are less likely to talk about feelings of stress or seek out care, mainly because of societal pressure and the idea that giving in to feelings of stress will make them seem weak or vulnerable. Ultimately, because men are unable to manage stress over time they are at a higher risk for depression and other mental health problems, as well as problems with physical health.
The solution? “Men exposed to a lot of stress should take it seriously,” said Assari. He suggests they take a lesson from women on how to talk about their emotions and encourages men to seek help when faced with stressful events.