Depression-related symptoms are at times seen as “feminine” or “female-oriented.” Females are almost twice as likely compared to males to experience depression, which is a leading cause of global burden among females. However, this female preponderance may, in part, be attributed to the ways in which we investigate or evaluate depressive symptoms and clinical depression. For example, females appear to be more depressed compared to males because we view females as “more emotional” and thus expect them to be more clinically depressed. This expectation is rooted in differential sexual norms ascribed to men and women.

research design

University students are randomly assigned to brief case vignettes. As the study is concerned with the perception of depressive symptoms, the study asks about the students’ beliefs or thoughts about the presenting mental health concern, not whether such concerns is clinically accurate or consistent with a diagnosis. The study investigates how gender or sexual orientation might be linked to perceptions of depression-related symptoms.

survey questionnaire

In addition to basic demographic questions, participants are very briefly asked about their religious identity, membership to a minority group, attitudes towards men and women, and political affiliation. These are known to be linked to perceptions of gender and sexual orientation.


Participants read brief paragraphs of individuals potentially experiencing symptoms of a mental disorder. They then evaluate how likely each subject in the narrative is experiencing that problem. This is followed by questions on their beliefs and thoughts about the subject in the story.


Official Title. Gender, sexual orientation, and perception of depressive symptoms

Common Title. Project Pananaw

Principal Investigator. Ronald Del Castillo, PsyD, MPH

Project Status. Ongoing

Ethics Approval and Registration. 2018-494-01 (UP Manila Research Ethics Board), 2016-1050 (UP Manila Research Grants Administration Office), 2nd floor Paz Mendoza Building, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines, Manila, 547 Pedro Gil Street, Ermita, 1000 Manila; telephone: +63 2 526 4346, mobile: +63 (92) 7236 4910, email:

Basic Eligibility. Only University of the Philippines (UP) students are eligible to participate. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and enrolled at UP at the time of the survey.

Possible Risks. All research involve risk. Potential risks associated with participation in the project are unlikely, of low risk, and considered transient. Participants might feel uncomfortable answering questions about gender, sexual orientation, and depression. This might lead to psychological distress but is highly unlikely.

Benefits. The potential direct individual benefits to participants are minimal and are limited to the overarching benefit to the population as a whole. The survey might lead to self-reflection about their own health, behaviors, and community. Bringing these issues to awareness might lead to new information or knowledge.

Incentive or Compensation. Participants are not provided with incentive nor compensation.

Commitment. This an 8-month project, with data collection for 1 month. The survey questionnaire with vignettes takes about 15 minutes to complete.

Location(s). UP Manila

Funding Source. UP Manila-Philippine National Institutes of Health

Project Contact. TBD

[NIH2018] Project Poster - FINAL APR 2019.jpg