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Middle-Aged Women and Depression: More Than Just A Mid-Life Crisis


A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found women ages 40 to 59 have the highest rate of depression of any group based on age or gender.

Dr. Quazi Imam is medical director of the Texas Health Behavioral Health Center at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. He talked about some of factors behind the findings in this edition of Vital Signs.

From Dr. Imam’s interview…

Contributing factors to depression in middle-aged women: 51 percent of young kids or teenagers are growing up in a single-parent family, and mom or dad have to take care of them -- likely mom. Women are less appreciated in the job environment, and that’s stressful. Middle-aged women who are below the poverty level have two-and-a-half times risk of feeling depressed and more risk of suicide. If you look at the below poverty level, Hispanic women have the highest level of depression in this country. Next is African-American women. Next is Caucasian women in this country.

How this differs from a mid-life crisis: Mid-life crisis is the time when all of a sudden people make a drastic change in their lives – quit their jobs, take a trip. But that’s the time we need to explore if a woman’s suffering from depression. Mid-life crisis, the hormonal changes, pre-menopausal or menopausal, she’s more likely to be depressed.

Symptoms to look for: Severe depressed moods, feeling “down in the dumps,” severe anxiety, panic symptoms, loss of interest in all usual activities, loss of taking care of self, the family, deterioration in the job setting, decreased sleep, increased sleep, decrease or increase in appetite.

For more information

Middle-Age Women Have Highest Rate of Depression 

Depression in the U.S. Household Population, 2009–2012 

The Unique Challenges of Managing Depression in Mid-life Women 

Midlife Crisis: Transition or Depression? 

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.