Saturday, March 10, 2007

the great depression

"Richest country, saddest people--any coincidence?" asks this commentary by Bret Stephens for the Wall Street Journal.

"...the results of a study, recently reported in Forbes, purporting to show that the U.S. has the highest rate of depression among a survey group of 14 countries. The study, jointly conducted by the World Health Organization and Harvard Medical School and based on more than 60,000 face-to-face interviews world-wide, found that 9.6% of Americans suffer from "bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder or chronic minor depression." A whopping 18.2% of Americans were also found to be experiencing "mood and anxiety disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorder."

I think I'm off to Nigeria. Their depression rate is 0.8%. The article brings up some interesting considerations including cultural differences.


athena said...

i agree with kessler, that "it's all about what people are willing to tell" and i think americans in general will be more explicit in their telling than any other culture so that could account for the high percentage. i think too that those in proverty stricken countries don't know that the grass really is greener on the other side so will be content with what they have. but i bet that would change if they really did know how much they were missing. it's human nature. and some countries like japan have a low percentage of depression but a high suicide rate.

Calandria said...

That was my first thought about Japan, too. It's almost like this study says more about human nature and cultural differences than depression.

Mark and Carla said...

Here in Tanzania people don't often talk about depression--probably because most of them are preoccupied with gettin food, firewood, water, and other basic necessities. Which is not to say it doesn't exist--we had an episode a couple weeks ago with a man from our church showing up at our house--at first we thought he was drunk, but turns out he is bipolar and was heading into the depression part and was feeling suicidal. I don't make light of depression, having had a very bad bout of it myself and lingering aftereffects, but I wonder if it's more prevalent, too, in countries where there is more wealth, where people don't have to expend so much energy to survive.

And I would take a pass on Nigeria. Too much mayhem and murder there. Head to Tanzania!

ave said...

I think that Americans are more depressed because of the preassure put on people to live the American Dream. I don't know how many women I have talked with who are stessed and depressed because their husbands "aren't making enough money." Maybe when we realize that we don't need as much and can give to our communities more we will be a happier country. Anyways, we can always blame WalMart.