Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Kenneth B. Matheny, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gregory L. Brack, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

T. Chris Oshima, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Andrew Roach, Ph.D.

Abstract

Depression is one of the most commonly-diagnosed disorders in college counseling centers (Adams, Wharton, Quilter, & Hirsch, 2008), so effective diagnosis and treatment are paramount to providing adequate care to college students. Treatment direction may depend on gender, however. Not only do males and females experience depression at different rates (Kessler et al., 2003), but there also is some evidence that factors predict depression differently by gender (Tamres, Janicki, & Helgeson, 2002). Specifically, the literature suggests that the choice of coping strategies may be gender-related; that perceived control is higher in males, yet more important to females; that social connectedness in particular may be valued more strongly and used more frequently as a coping style by females than males; and that coping resources seem to mitigate the harmful effects of stressful events. Consequently, it seems important to examine the relationships of coping resources, coping styles, mastery, and social support to the experiences of depression. The purpose of this study was to gain a clearer understanding of the predictors of depression and methods for coping with depression in college students and to determine how these differ by gender. Results demonstrated gender differences in the experiences of many variables studied as well as the prediction of depression. High levels of perceived stress factored in as an important predictor of depression for both genders. Prediction models of best fit for females also included low mastery and low social support, while few coping resources along with high perceived stress appeared to be the most important factors in depression prediction for males. Mastery was also found to moderate the relationship between social support and depression for males. Results have implications for increasing college students’ abilities to cope with depression, thus reducing the negative academic, psychological, and physiological effects of depression.

Share

COinS