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Indigenous perspectives on depression in rural regions of India and the United States. Transcult Psychiatry 2011 Nov;48(5):539-68



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-82455221327   27 Citations


Depression is a major health concern in India, yet indigenous Indian perspectives on depression have often been disregarded in favor of Western conceptualizations. The present study used quantitative and qualitative measures modeled on the Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue (EMIC) to elicit beliefs about the symptoms, causes, treatments, and stigma associated with depression. Data were collected from 92 students at a university in the Himalayan region of Northern India and from 97 students at a university in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. U.S. participants in this study were included primarily to approximate a "Western baseline" (in which professional conceptions of depression are predominantly rooted) from which to elucidate Indian perspectives. Compared to U.S. participants, Indian participants were more likely to view restive symptoms (e.g., irritation, anxiety, difficulty thinking) as common features of depression, to view depression as the result of personally controllable causes (e.g., failure), to endorse social support and spiritual reflection or relaxation (e.g., yoga, meditation) as useful means for dealing with depression, and to associate stigma with depression. Efforts aimed at reducing depression among Indians should focus more on implementing effective and culturally acceptable interventions, such as yoga, meditation, and increasing social support.

Author List

Nieuwsma JA, Pepper CM, Maack DJ, Birgenheir DG


Denis Birgenheir PhD Assistant Professor in the Psychiatry department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Attitude to Health
Cross-Cultural Comparison
Interviews as Topic
Rural Population
Socioeconomic Factors
Surveys and Questionnaires
Young Adult