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Depression Levels May Be Higher In Richer Countries

November 9, 2012

The CNN article, People in affluent nations may be more depression-prone, details the findings from an in-depth study researching depression levels among those living in more economically successful parts of the world, and compares them to those who live in tougher economic climates. The study found that people living in more affluent counties tended to have higher rates of depression.

There were several potential reasons given for this finding. One possibility was that the people in the less affluent areas had a harder time recalling specific incidences when they were feeling depressed (in this case, the study defined depression as having an episode of clinical depression within your lifetime). People in poorer areas could have a harder time in general, have to work harder, or could simply feel less consistently happy. Another potential reasoning behind the findings is the added stressors that people in economically successful countries have to face. There is much more competition, people are always looking for something bigger and better, and there is little time for relaxation. These kinds of stressors could very possibly trigger feelings of depression.

I thought it was really interesting that the article did not mention any sort of biological or clinical reasoning behind depression. The entire foundation of the article was based on the assumption that depression rates vary in different areas because of region-specific circumstances. To me, this demonstrates the vast polarity that exists between the biological and sociological approaches to understanding and explaining mental health.

Ben Williams

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 21, 2012 5:50 pm

    Interesting article, Ben. One thing to keep in mind is how media (understandably) always captures the “big points” in scientific findings, and rarely delves into the finer details. How might you have reacted differently had you read the original study? (I haven’t read it, but in general, it’s a good idea to read the original after reading the media’s take on it — you often get a different take and *sometimes* even discover that what was highlighted in the media was misleading. Not saying that necessarily happened here, but always something to keep in mind when reading an *account* of research, rather than the research itself.) Prof Replogle

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