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Research

Depression

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Depression tends to be more prevalent among women with disabilities than among non-disabled women. Depression is a common secondary health condition among women with disabilities, and is more common for women with disabilities than for other people.

  • Women with disabilities face at least a double jeopardy for depression due to being disabled and female.
  • Depression is at least twice as common among women as among men.
  • Depression appears to be possibly three times more common for people with disabilities than for people in general.
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Our Research Findings

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A study of 415 women with disabilities found depression was linked to more pain, greater stress, lack of social support, and less mobility. Women with disabilities who experienced abuse in the past year were more likely to be depressed.

One study of 64 women with spinal cord injury found severe depressive symptoms were linked to greater stress and social isolation.

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Complicated Diagnosis

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Depression is complicated for women with disabilities.

  • Sometimes the similarities between the symptoms of depression and symptoms of disability (such as fatigue and sleep disturbance) make it difficult to determine the cause of a woman's distress.
  • Depression among women with disabilities is sometimes caused by medication for the woman's underlying health condition.
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Treatment

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Research has begun to address the importance of interventions specifically designed to alleviate depression among women with disabilities. One current study on depression compares two types of depression interventions among approximately 200 women with disabilities.

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Read our Newsletter

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Read more on the topic of depression from the series "Removing Disabilities Disparities from Women's Health", 2005, Volume 1, Number 3.