Not Saying I Am Happy Does Not Mean I Am Not

I found this great article on pubmed to continue off of our class discussion today:

Not Saying I Am Happy Does Not Mean I Am Not: Cultural Influences on Responses to Positive Affect Items in the CES-D

Results: The data revealed that Koreans and Korean Americans were less likely than non-Hispanic Whites to endorse the positive affect items. Compared with Korean Americans who were more acculturated to mainstream American culture, those who were less acculturated were less likely to endorse the positive affect items.

Discussion: Our findings support the notion that the way in which people endorse depressive symptoms is substantially influenced by cultural orientation. These findings call into question the common use of simple mean comparisons and a universal cutoff point across diverse cultural groups.

To read the full article:
http://psychsocgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/07/21/geronb.gbq052.long

This jumps off of part of our class discussion today about cross-cultural differences in diseases such as schizophrenia and depression. I find it fascinating that different cultures can express depression differently. Many countries have much lower reported depression rates which could tie into this article because many cultures do not find it socially acceptable to express depressive tendencies even if they exist. The US has a very high rate of reported depression and many of these patients are recieving some new drug treatments that claim to help with symptoms (which also brings up the problem of over-medication). We also discussed the different paces at which different cultures run and how this might affect one’s ability to deal with their depression in their society. I think a pertinent question is what makes a society fundamentally happy? And though most seem to give an outward expression of happiness, which societies are truly “happy”?

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