depression help online

SHIFT-Depression®Inventory background research

The SHIFT-Depression®Inventory has been in development since 1999 and refined from the findings of three research studies with over 300 women who were diagnosed with depression.

You can access the most recently published research and references to the earlier research on the links page.

You complete the Inventory on line via this link here

Dr Helen Vidler, an Australian registered psychologist, was the chief investigator on three research studies which asked depressed women what they believed was connected to their sadness or depression. Because it is clear from community surveys that twice as many women than men suffer from depression over the life cycle, it was important to focus on women only so that issues unique to women, could be identified.

This research included a social, contextual view of health which considers the relevance of environment, society and sex role stereotyping and how all of these things may impact on a woman's health. In other words, a belief that our health is affected by more that what we as an individual may have control over. Our health is also affected by the contexts and environments in which we live and the roles we are expected to fulfil, as women (or as men).

For example, and speaking generally, some people live in highly stressful circumstances and are subject to ongoing trauma. Whether or not they can change their environment and get away from the stress, will affect whether they'll become depressed and whether their depression becomes chronic. Taking into account that environmental issues are connected is also important when looking for ways to improve things rather than solely focusing on and locating reasons within an individual. Thinking about depression in terms of the environment, context and social roles, also prevents individuals feeling blamed for having become depressed.

Women experience the world differently to men. Society determines that there are certain ways that women should behave if they are to be considered a 'good woman'.

We could also ask whether or not women feel valued and equal members of society especially when the private sector in particular pays women on average, between 15% to 20% less for the same work as their male counterparts. There are emotional impacts on women when the message society gives is that their time and contribution is not as valuable as a man's is.

Therefore, to get a complete picture of what is connected to sadness or depression for women and why twice as many women as men suffer with depression; apart from asking women themselves, it was also important to allow for a social and contextual view to come through the research.

Men are also influenced by sex role stereotyping and context, and separate research with men only, would be able to highlight issues specific for them.

Although the SHIFT-Depression® Inventory may be helpful to men, it is intended to be used with women simply because the research behind it was conducted with women only.

Some findings from the research using the SHIFT-Depression®Inventory

One of the findings of the research behind the Inventory and linked to sex role stereotyping, showed that women who were depressed, focused their time and care on others, or their work, and put the care of themselves last.

The 'good caring woman' is an expectation imposed on women from society. To go against this expectation runs the risk of being labelled 'selfish' or a 'bad woman'.

Women are very 'tuned in' to what society expects of them as women and will think they are 'selfish' if they stop putting other's first, even when they're feeling completely overwhelmed.

And there are plenty of other women and men who will convince them that they are selfish or bad if they attempt to rebalance things and look after themselves. That is how strong the societal expectation is.

Who would have thought that messages soaked up by women from imposed societal standards and interpersonal relationships regarding what is or is not a 'good woman', could make women depressed!

Together with this gendered aspect to women becoming depressed, are issues like poor physical health or lack of health care, not getting exercise or eating nutritious food.

Another area of significant importance for women with depression is the treatment they have experienced from others in important relationships. This may have begun in childhood, for example betrayal, neglect or abuse; and they may also have experienced betrayals of trust, abuse or bullying as an adult. This can lead to being isolated due to not having any close, confiding, trustworthy relationships where they can experience reciprocal caring. Women may also be in relationships where they are controlled and are primarily meeting the needs of the other person.

The feeling that there is no support through relationships or from family or social networks, compounds a woman's isolation.

Because every woman's life and journey into sadness or depression is different, the particular combination of issues in the areas mentioned above, will be unique to each woman.

Deciding to complete the SHIFT-Depression®Inventory or not

By completing the SHIFT-Depression®Inventory, a woman can identify the unique issues for themselves and have a fuller understanding of whether they are at risk, or vulnerable to becoming depressed. According to the women who left comments such as in the right hand column, simply having the information from filling in the Inventory helped them to feel less stuck and get some control back over their lives

If women can identify the issues that are associated with depression, they can then choose the ways they wish to be supported to make changes, or not, as the case may be.

With this information, it is recommended that women seek out a health professional or a counsellor to support them.

Go back to the home page to find the link to complete the Inventory.

Go to the links page for detailed information regards the published research for the Inventory as well as information about finding a health professional or a counsellor, and links to other web sites that may help with depression.

home | background | termsofservice| copyright | community| relationships| thoughts&feelings | physical| links | contact|

Women’s Comments after using the SHIFT-Depression® Inventory

‘It stares you in the face, the reasons …why you became depressed!’

‘The questions are very clear. You go ‘Oh wow! …I’d forgotten about that (issue).’

‘Oh, I didn’t realise that was such an issue for me!’

‘That helps me understand some things now.’

‘It covers so many areas and connects things.’

‘It feels positive to think about what things could help me and gives me some direction.’

‘I feel more optimistic after focusing on what things might help to alleviate my depression.’


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend