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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 53 (2011) 2, 73 - 82

New research

Flanders versus the Netherlands: focus on differences between depressive symptoms in men and women measured on the basis of CES-D8

S. Van de Velde, K. Levecque, P. Bracke

background A consistent finding in international research is the higher prevalence of depression in women than in men, but it is not known to what extent this gender difference is robust in population research.
aim In this study we focus on gender differences in depressive symptoms of the population of Flanders and the Netherlands. method We made use of the European Social Survey organised in 2006 and 2007 (n = 3014); depression being measured by means of an 8-item version of the Center of Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, ces-d. First we studied the psychometric properties of the depression inventory, looking closely at both the reliability and factional validity of the scale. Next we compared the gender and regional differences in the prevalence of depressive symptoms as measured by the cesd8 scale. Finally, using regression analysis, we examined to what extent the gender differences between Flanders and the Netherlands were family-related and linked to socio-economic factors.
results Our study pointed to the reliability and factional validity of the ces-d8. Our results confirmed a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms among women than among men. On average, Flemish respondents reported fewer depressive symptoms than Dutch respondents, but their scores showed greater dispersion.
conclusions These differences can be explained partly by different family and socioeconomic circumstances.

keywords CES-D, depression, gender