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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 1999 June;40(2):55-60

language: Italian

Gender differences and anxiety-depression spectrum: the interpersonal sensitivity as risk factor

Giardinelli L., Paionni A., Zucchi T., Viviani B., Cabras P. L.


Background and aims. In adolescence there is a sudden increase in psychiatric pathology, revealing a clear dimorphism both in the clinical expression and the prevalence of psychic disorders in both sexes. The aim of this study was to evaluate sex-related differences in a population of university students regarding the prevalence of anxiety-depressive disorders, taking into account the concept of interpersonal sensitivity.
Methods. A psychometric survey was carried out using the following self-assessment tests in 130 students (70 females and 60 males): Interpersonal Sensitivity Inventory (IPSM), Symptoms Check-list-90 (SCL-90), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI 1 and STAI 2) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).
Results. From these results it emerged that females show significantly higher scores compared to males in the following tests: State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI 1 and STAI 2), SCL-90 (total score and individual scales, except for the scale regarding paranoid ideation), IPSM (total score and individual scales, except for the scale regarding shyness).
Conclusions. These data concord with results reported in the literature and emphasise the idea of a female predisposition to anxiety-depressive disorders linked to cognitive and social factors. In particular, the authors feel that interpersonal sensitivity, understood as a stable personality trait, may represent a risk factor able to justify the higher prevalence of these pathologies in females, as well as their peculiar methods of expression.

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