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Factors that Contribute to Major Depressive Disorder

Exploratory Essay

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Factors that Contribute to Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a psychiatric illness which predominates over other mental diseases around the globe. Various risk factors contribute to the development of the condition, for example, age, gender, and ethnicity. The MDD is more common for females than males, which is the impact of gender-specific cultural and social factors (Maier et al. 241). Picco et al. stated that it is necessary to analyze “the role of typical stressors, coping resources, and the opportunities available to men and women for expressing psychological distress” in order to understand the prevalence of the disorder among the females. The women are more likely to demonstrate the increased appetite, lack of enthusiasm, and thoughts of death as well as to be highly emotional while they suffer from depression. Moreover, the findings show that females have internalizing symptoms of depression, while males tend to display externalizing signs (Albert). This means that women pay more attention to interpersonal relations, friendship, or family ties and worry about the future, expressing emotions of loneliness, anxiety, or fear; men tend to focus on career and goal-oriented factors demonstrating the aggressive behavior. The researchers also identify the hormonal changes as one of the factors that influence the depression prevalence among females (Albert).

Society is another force that has a significant influence on MDD. The individualistic and collectivistic orientation of the community, the role of the family, stereotypical expectations based on gender, and racial features affect the way the society perceives it as well as the attitude to the care provided to the people who suffer from MDD. For example, lots of disorders are categorized as depressive in India, whereas, in Japan, where it is not common to accept the idea of mental illness, people do not admit that they have depression (Nemade). It is expected that one person takes care of the whole family in traditional Asian cultures, while, in Western countries, more attention is paid to the individual's desires. As a result, people who focus on family problems are not worried about the personal success which may prevent the development of the depressive disorder. As we can see, a significant number of factors contribute to the development of MDD, and culture plays one of the major roles in its interpretation.


Albert, R. Paul. “Why Is Depression More Prevalent in Women?” Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, vol. 40, no. 4, 2015, pp. 219-221. NCBI,

Maier, Werner, et al. “Gender Differences in the Prevalence of Depression: A Survey in Primary Care.” Journal of Affective Disorders, vol. 53, no. 3, 1999, pp. 241-52. NCBI,

Nemade, Rashmi. “Sociology of Depression – Effects of Culture.” Mental Help.

Picco, Louisa, et al. Gender Differences in Major Depressive Disorder: Findings from the Singapore Mental Health Study.” Singapore Medical Journal, vol. 58, no. 11, 2017, pp. 649–655, NCBI,

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