Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

Male Midlife Depression: Multidimensional Contributing Factors and Renewed Practice Approaches/ la Dépression D'âge Mûr Chez L'homme : Facteurs Contributifs Multidimensionnels et Approches Pratiques Renouvelées

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

Male Midlife Depression: Multidimensional Contributing Factors and Renewed Practice Approaches/ la Dépression D'âge Mûr Chez L'homme : Facteurs Contributifs Multidimensionnels et Approches Pratiques Renouvelées

Article excerpt

Depression has been viewed as a key indicator of mental health in midlife (Deeg, 2005)· According to Gilmour and Patten (2007), 4% of employed Canadians between the ages of 25 to 64 experienced depression during the preceding year, while only 3% of working Canadians experiencing depression sought counselling (Ipsos Reta, 2007). In their research regarding depression literacy in Alberta, Wang et al. (2007) concluded, among other findings» that mental health promotion geared to men was needed. Another Canadian-based research study conducted by Wing et al. (2005) reported the need for enhanced national initiatives targethag mood disorders. Women are twice as likely as their male counterparts to seek help for depression (Cyranowski, Frank, "ïbung, & Shear, 2000; Good S¿ Wood, 1995; Heifner, 1997; Robbins, 2006), but men outnumber women two to four times in suicide attempts resulting in death (Cochran, 200 1; Moller-Leimkühler, 2003; Murphy, 1998). 1he World Health Organization reported that depression will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide, behind heart disease, by 2020 (Murray &: Lopez, 1997). By 2030, it is predicted that depression will be the largest contributor (World Health Or^nJzation, 2008). More recently, on Mental Health Day, October 10, 2012, the World Federation of Mental Health published Depression: A Global Crisis.

"One of the most consistendy documented sex differences in incidence of psychological problems is depression" (Cook, 1990, p. 372). Because men seek help less often than women, their depression tends to be underdiagnosed (Cochran & Rabinowitz, 2003; Kil martin, 2005). Researchers have suggested that although men and women have similar depression symptom profiles, they differ in how they present symptoms and how they cope with depression (e.g., Cochran & Rabinowitz, 2003; Pollack, 1998). Rochlen, Whilde, and Hoyer (2005), however, posited that depression for the sexes is stereotyped. Gendered conceptualizations of depression could constrict the broader context of depression. Nevertheless, the unique aspects of male depression have important considerations for counselling and counsellor training and development.

Confronted by this picture of depression in Canada, I focused my doctoral research on investigating counselling efficacy for midlife depression with an emphasis on questions related to depression self-management, therapy outcome research, and adult learning. I was particularly curious about individuals' experiences of managing depression once counselling had ended. My hermeneutie inquiry involved 15 conversational semistructured interviews with midlife women and men who had completed counselling for depression. This article presents the perspectives and narratives of the 6 men who participated in the study. Their experiences further our understanding of male midlife depression, stretch traditional practice paradigms beyond standardized treatment, and invite us to discuss renewed practice approaches.

MAPPING THE COURSE OF MIDLIFE DEPRESSION: BRIEF SURVEY OF THE LITERATURE

Midlife, as a life stage construct, has been associated with a range of ideologies including crisis (Erikson, 1963), decline (Frenkel-Brunswik, 1968), and expressivity and individuation (Jung, 1933)· Stereotypes have developed around this stage of life that depict men as being in pursuit of youth and depict women as being concerned about aging (Stoppard, 2000). Midlife has been conceptualized as a time of generativity (McAdams, de St. Aubin, & Logan, 1993), adapting to life transitions (Hudson, 1999), and taking stock of life's gains and losses (Goldstein, 2005; Heckhausenj 200 1; Lachman, 2004). Midlife is generally between the ages of 35 and 65 years (Staudinger 8c Block, 2001; Willis & Martin, 2005). Life-work stressors and long work hours (Galambos &C Walters, 1992)» care for elders, financés, household and family responsibilities, occupational issues, and health risk factors are prevalent during midlife. …

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