To investigate the extent to which gender differences in the expression of depressive symptomatology exist among chronic pain patients.
A multidisciplinary pain center affiliated with a state medical school in the southern United States.
A total general sample of 245 patients with heterogeneous chronic pain complaints randomly selected from a database of ≈1,000 pretreatment evaluation patient files. A depressed subsample of 113 patients based on scores ≥15 on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).
The 21-item BDI.
Results and Conclusions:
Gender differences in total BDI scores were not revealed for the total general sample or depressed subsample, but gender differences in the expression of depressive symptoms (i.e., item level responses) were found via separate discriminant function analyses on the total general sample and depressed subsample. Consistent with previous studies performed on diverse samples, females' higher endorsement of body image distortion was noted in both of our samples. Females also endorsed significantly higher levels of fatigue in our total sample. Items that were not significant in our total sample include females' higher levels of loss of appetite and crying. In the depressed subsample, items probing pessimism and failure were not statistically significantly different to males' endorsing higher levels of each. Sensitivity to these gender differences is suggested in clinical practice. The likely consequences that these differences in the experience and expression of distress have on coping activities (e.g., help-seeking responses) and the reactions of others (e.g., health-care providers) are highlighted.