Lisa A. Martin and colleagues at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, said traditionally U.S. women have higher rates of depression, but when traditional and alternative symptoms of depression are combined, it appears sex disparities in the prevalence of depression among men and women are eliminated.
Martin and colleagues used data from a nationally represented mental health survey of 3,310 women and 2,382 men.
Men reported higher rates of anger attacks/aggression, substance abuse and risk taking compared with women.
When the researchers used analyses using the scale that included alternative, male-type symptoms of depression found 26.3 percent of men and 21.9 percent of women met criteria for depression.
Analyses using the scale that included alternative and traditional depression symptoms found that men and women met criteria for depression in virtually equal proportions, 30.6 percent of men and 33.3 percent of women, the study said.
"The results of this work have the potential to bring significant advances to the field in terms of the perception and measurement of depression," the researchers concluded. "These findings could lead to important changes in the way depression is conceptualized and measured."
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry.