Female Students More Likely To Suffer From Stress, Depression

Recent Study Finds Female College Students More Likely To Internalize Stress


Thirty-five percent of college women report have reported feeling “sad and hopeless”, says one 2004 study. (Craig Calefate /The Observer)

Published: April 9, 2009

A recent study indicates that women are harder on themselves than men and hold themselves to higher standards of perfection, in addition to taking on more activities. More college-age women than men report being overly stressed and therefore plagued by depression as a result. Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) females appear to be no exception.

An article that appeared on March 23 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution discussed the disproportionate pressures on college females and cited the Annual Nationwide Freshman Survey by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute. This survey shows that “women are harder on themselves than men [are], rating their academic abilities lower than their male peers even though they earn higher grades and graduate in higher numbers.”

Andrea Paul, FCLC ’11, said, “I feel women have a natural tendency to worry more than men do.”

She said she feels that her male friends  are  less concerned with perfection. She also said that she would classify more of her female friends as perfectionists than she would her male friends.

Amanda Angri, FCLC ’12, said that she thinks women are more stressed and are more likely to suffer from depression because “girls tend to think too much into things sometimes and are more meticulous.”

“Guys are more [stereotypically] lackadaisical and more laidback, [although that’s] not the case for everyone,” she said.

Steven Rey, FCLC ’11, said, “I know girls who panic when stressed, but I know guys who do it, too. I think a lot of it has to do with image. It’s important for a lot of guys to act relaxed even when they’re not. They handle stress differently by how they let it show. In reality, the same amount [of stress] is there [in men and women].”

Forty-five percent of females and 34 percent of males say they face pressure often, according to a 2008 poll conducted by AP and mtvU.

When asked whether he believes girls are more stressed than guys, Brian Klochkoff, FCLC ’11, said that he tries not to obsess over the stress in his life.

Rey said that his workload is “just as heavy as anyone else’s” and that he “[stresses] over everything.”

He said, “I obsess over papers and projects… stress comes with college. Everyone deals with it differently, but no one avoids it altogether.”

Yael Nitkin Kaner, a staff psychologist and outreach coordinator at Fordham’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), said that more women than men come to CPS for counseling.

Anne Bobrick, a licensed clinical social worker in New York City who specializes in women’s issues among other topics, said that women are more likely to internalize their problems, while men are more likely to deal with stress by “punching a wall,” for example.

She attributed the greater rates of depression and stress in college women to this tendency to internalize. She said that girls who internalize their stress “are the ones that need to be watched. Those are the ones that disappear, and no one seems to notice them.”

According to research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), studies have found that “girls [tend] to doubt themselves, doubt their problem-solving abilities and view their problems as unsolvable more so than boys.”

The NIMH also states that “girls with these views [are] more likely to have depressive symptoms as well. Girls also [tend] to need a higher degree of approval and success to feel secure than boys.”

Ann Marie Dorr, FCLC ’11, said she thinks women may seem more stressed because they are more active in campus activities than men are.

“Women do take on more responsibility—personally, I’ve experienced more women taking on an active role on campus than men,” said Gabrielle Lantieri, FCLC ’11. “This may be attributed to the gender difference. There are more females here at FCLC, as well as at college in general, which may account for the female’s more apparent role.”

However, Dorr said she feels that it is “much better to be over-active than laidback, even if it does inflict stress.” She continued, “More stress is a small price to pay for doing something that you love, or that will benefit you in the future.”

Lantieri said, “Women and men handle stress differently; no one is better. While I am more likely to stress over a paper, men tend to put it off. At this age, we are all learning how to deal with stress—it’s a learning process.”