Gender differences in psychopathology examined under an expanded transactional theory of stress framework



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Prevalence rates of many types of psychopathology are lower for men than they are for women, but the causes of these discrepancies are not known. This paper focuses on two such psychopathology groups ? eating disorders and depressive disorders ? and examines gender differences within a transactional theory of stress that takes into account levels of cognitive processing (an expanded transactional theory of stress). Both studies found that men are more physiologically reactive to disorder-relevant, stressful stimuli and stressful events. The study on depression also found that different cognitive processes may be depressogenic for men and women: deployment of attentional resources toward negative stimuli was associated with depression in men, while deployment of attentional resources away from positive stimuli was associated with depression in women. These findings have significant implications for choosing appropriate treatment options for men and women.