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Table 4 Preferred social support for symptoms of depression by gender

From: Social support and gender differences in coping with depression among emerging adults: a mixed-methods study

Preferred social support for young men Preferred social support for young women
“Don’t talk about what’s bothering [the person]; suggest things to do”
100_ManDiagnosis, BDI-II Minimal (4)
“Don’t try to make them talk, just let them know you’re there, without talking about it. [That way] they can put their problems aside for a while and relax”
101_ManDiagnosis, BDI-II Minimal (11)
“Go out with friends and laugh. Let’s go out and have a good time, go to the bar, have a beer and forget about everything for a little while, and that’s it. Mutual support, that’s what I think and what my friends want, I think”
103_ManDiagnosis, BDI-II Minimal (10)
“Having the support of your friends, having them tell you, Come on, man, wake up, on Friday we’re going here, on Saturday we’re going there. You don’t feel like it? Then we’re coming to your house and we’re staying there”
94_ManDiagnosis, BDI-II Mild (16)
“I try to escape with my friends, doing things together, but when I’m in really bad shape I don’t feel like doing anything”
96_ManDiagnosis, BDI-II Severe (32)
“I have a friend who, well, I’ve got to thank him, because he’s been there for me. ‘OK, come on, let’s go to the beach. Whatever.’ ‘No, no, I don’t feel like it, I don’t know, no.’ ‘Yes, you’re coming.’ And my mother opens the door and he comes in, and I’m there in bed, [and he says], ‘Come on, you’re coming.’ And we go to the beach and I have a great time. Well, you’re grateful to have friends like that, the ones you can count on the fingers of one hand”
97_ ManDiagnosis, BDI-II Mild (15)
“Going out with people, your friends, with somebody, basically, yes. Going to the movies, going out for coffee, meeting up in the afternoon, going to the beach, anything to disconnect a little. Sports help too, I don’t know, anything that helps you disconnect”
114_ManDistress, BDI-II Minimal (7)
“Well, I’d go out partying not because I wanted to but because my friends dragged me along, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think I’d do the same thing for them because I think that it’s not about partying but being with other people, forgetting about yourself, and above all having a good time”
118_ManDistress, BDI-II Minimal (5)
“Well, being with me, I mean, supporting me, having people around me who can put themselves in my position and listen to me and understand me, even if they can’t do anything, just being with me [is enough]”
10_WomanDiagnosis, BDI-II Moderate (23)
“Girls usually help each other. Sometimes we give each other advice, or we try to get her [the depressed person’s] mind off it, so she won’t think about it. Give her another solution. We talk a lot”
14_WomanDiagnosis, BDI-II Severe (43)
“I’d like it to be my friends. If you can see that they’re worried about you, you say, OK, even if I wanted to be by myself I know that I have someone I can talk to, someone I can unburden myself to”
3_WomanDiagnosis, BDI-II Minimal (10)
“My friends tell me you can’t go on like that. I don’t know, really, I think that nobody realizes what’s happening to them until they see it. Your friends tell you that you can’t go on like that”
4_WomanDiagnosis, BDI-II Minimal (8)
“[I] really appreciated the people who came on their own and said, ‘Hey, what’s going on with you?’ Because there were some people [who said] ‘Oh, I knew you were feeling bad.’ [And when you said] ‘Well, yes, sort of,’ they avoided you. When you’re feeling bad you see who really cares about you or worries about you. That, and talking. Coming over to talk, or saying, ‘Listen, we’re going someplace this weekend, come on’”
5_WomanDiagnosis, BDI-II Minimal (10)
“Talking with your friends first, then with your family”
63_WomanDistress, BDI-II Moderate (26)
“Friends? They’re pretty important. If you have one kind of problem or another, or if you’re feeling down, what [these situations] always have in common is that you feel alone, right? I think that’s what all these emotional states have in common: loneliness. Your family’s there, but you know they’ll always be there! You know they love you unconditionally, so you need something more that really tells you that you matter as a person, that you have something to give others, that your friends are there for you because they care”
77_WomanDistress, BDI-II Moderate (24)
“I spent three years crying until all of a sudden some friends turned up and we started talking about it, and then I went to play basketball with them and little by little things started to change, I started understanding everything, but it was really complicated”
81_WomanDistress, BDI-II Moderate (26)
  1. Words added by the authors to a quotation to improve the reader’s understanding are indicated in square brackets []. Each quotation is followed by a summary of the characteristics of the specific participant, including participant number at the beginning; gender; subgroup; and Beck depression inventory (BDI-II) score