Karen Pallesgaard Munk

Gendering Late-Life Depression? The Coping Process in a Group of Elderly Men

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  • Hanne Voldby Jensen, Rigshospitalet, Danmark
  • Karen Munk
  • Svend Aage Madsen, Rigshospitalet, Danmark

The increase in suicide rates in older men poses a serious challenge in terms of better detection and diagnosing of depression, as the increase could suggest that there are a number of aging, depressive men who are not diagnosed and therefore remain untreated for their depression. This study is an interview study with 8 elderly men (between 66 and 85 years of age) diagnosed with depression in late-life. It examines how the men discuss, perceive and enact in relation to stressful situations in late life, and how their perception may influence the coping process and the presentation of depressive symptoms.  It was found that the men only used two types of coping strategies: Restoration strategies and Palliative strategies. The coping strategies used were mainly aimed at continuing life as it was before (or trying hard and working hard to obtain that illusion) and to avoid, divert or distract from the stress, but not to solve the underlying problems. The men did not use any active resignation strategies, which are strategies for normalizing the situation after a stressful situation, and bring in an acceptance of limitations or changes in life circumstances.

The exclusive use of restorative and palliative strategies in the stressful situations leads to poorer psychological adjustment than when active resignation strategies are included in the repertoire. These findings suggest that focusing on the male coping process to stressful situations in late life may offer new perspectives in regard to early detection of depression and offer a new understanding of the complex symptoms representation and incongruent depressive behaviours in elderly males
TidsskriftNordic Psychology (Online)
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 2010
Eksternt udgivetJa

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