depression; aggression; rural; women


Rural women represent approximately 20% of women living in the United States, yet research on the specific mental health needs of rural women is limited. Given the well-recognized gender-linked disparity in depression, its correlated symptoms in women still need much investigation. While emerging notions of depression in men embrace potential symptoms related to irritability and aggression, less research has focused on the potential role of aggression in depressed women. This connection may be particularly relevant for rural women who face unique mental health stressors in comparison to their urban counterparts. The purpose of this study was to examine if aggression is linked to depression for rural women in order to identify potential unique symptomatology and presentation for rural women. As part of a larger initiative, a sample of 54 participants was recruited from the patient population at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in rural southeast Georgia to participate in a quantitative survey. The survey assessed demographics, depression, and aggressive behavior. Mean total score of aggression in depressed women was significantly higher than non-depressed women (p < 0.001), and within the entire sample depression scores were significantly related linearly to aggression, explaining 16% of the variance found in depression scores (β = .399, r2 = .159, p = 0.003). This study suggests that aggressive behavior may be linked to depression for rural women, and underscores the need for future research investigating if depression presents differently for rural women.