Aging women

High School ・Psychology ・APA

In their position in the family system of society and relationships that may subject them to significant psychological impairments, elderly women have undergone changes. The goal of the study was to address how environmental factors contribute to putting older women at a higher risk of developing depression than the physical and biological forms of the disorder that have been highlighted (Whiteman, Ruggiano, & Thomlison, 2016). As such, the research was carried out to find out variables that were not taken into account during depression diagnosis, such as the intensity and frequency of women's life stressors. The study is important in that it has stressed on how there is need for diagnosing an individual who is suffering from depression focusing more on the individual’s interaction with the environment rather than just the main symptoms of depression (Whiteman et al., 2016). Through this study, the authors further recommends to the government to promote health in many ways so that the policies consider gender-related factors.

The hypotheses of the study include: (a) there is a higher rate of depression among women than among men, (b) life stressors contribute to increased rates of depression among older women more often than among older men. There were no physical human subjects involved in this study, as the author did a MEDLINE and PsycINFO search to support the idea that there is a relationship between the life stressors and depression in women at an older age. Various articles were also referenced that aided in the identification of the life stressors and their contribution to increased rates of depressive disorders (Whiteman et al., 2016).

Four main life stressors associated with depressive disorders were identified during the study. First, caregiving to someone who has a physical disability is a major risk factor. The depression risk factor majorly reflects on older women, as there are more female caregivers than male. The second life stressor is the experiencing of abuse among women where older women are subjected to sexual, physical, and psychological torture leading to increased depression level among women over 55 years (Whiteman et al., 2016). Thirdly, changes in living conditions, such as nursing homes where the older women are accommodated, are also considered as a life stressor. The fourth factor includes poor health and disabilities associated with old age. Health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, have been known to affect women more than men (Whiteman et al., 2016).

The hypotheses that were covered as the life stressors were environmentaly-based and were all found to be leading contributors to depressive disorders among women. The only limitation of the study is that most nursing home facilities that have been identified and made referrals to with the elderly suffering from depression are not in a capacity to house the mental health services (Whiteman et al., 2016). However, the authors suggest that coordination through cross systems of the two may overcome the problem.

One of the recommendations made was to incorporate mental healthcare services within nursing homes to improve the treatment results. The partnership can be possible once the older women who require the mental services are identified within the nursing home and provided with necessary help. The author suggested the use of not only symptoms, but also new diagnostic tools and three ways have been designed to diagnose depression. The last recommendation was on social policies, where the authors suggest that standards for accrediting healthcare agencies should target a method of integrating the environmental stressors that the older people have been subjected to and the social risk factors.

The excess rates of depression among women is a consequence of the environmental life stressors. They are not only caused by biological differences, but also the various environmental experiences to which an individual is exposed to (Whiteman et al., 2016). I have learned that depression should be viewed as a health problem that affects both the individual and his or her family. Since it is hard to detect depression, research should be directed at looking for advanced treatments and diagnosis of the signs and symptoms of depression.


Whiteman, K., Ruggiano, N., & Thomlison, B. (2016). Transforming mental health services to address gender disparities in depression risk factors. J Women Aging, 28(6), 521-529.

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