Mental health research, and research in general, used to focus only on men at one point in time, but now there are many studies dedicated to women’s mental health.
Here are 10 fascinating women’s mental health studies released within the past year or that will be released that you can read about in honor of the upcoming Mental Health Month. The studies are not in order of importance or release date, and there are a multitude of other studies not mentioned.
1) Ellen Frank, a distinguished professor of psychiatry and professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, said she “completed a large study of treatments for depression,” and although there wasn’t an emphasis on women’s mental health, the study didn’t show any differences in treatment responses for women and men in interpersonal psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Usually research focuses on differences between men and women. The study was officially published in the journal Psychological Medicine in early 2011.
“It’s been known for a very long time that women are at least double the risk of, once they reach adolescence … having a depression relative to men, and that seems to be sustained for most of the rest of women’s lives,” Frank said. “But once men and women get depressed, the course of the illness and the response to treatment seems to be very similar.”
2) A meta-analysis research paper published earlier in 2011 by Katja Karg and others showed support for the concept of serotonin transporter promoter genes and how individual people have different forms of the genes – two big S’s or two little S’s, said Donna Stewart, a professor and chair of women’s health at University of Toronto at University Health Network. Two little S’s mean there isn’t efficient transportation of serotonin, which is involved in mood regulation and depression.
“There’s very strong evidence that the kind of serotonin transporter promoter gene that you’re born with has a great impact on how likely you are to get depressed under stress,” Stewart said.