Culture, self-concept, and the presentation of distress: Implication for depression

A wide range of behaviours and physical symptoms can accompany depression. Cultural background may also influence how a person expresses depression symptoms. In China, where a low depression rate has long been reported, depressed patients are thought to be more likely to describe physical symptoms while de-emphasizing psychological problems; the reverse is true with non-Chinese in Canada. This raises the possibility that clinicians have misdiagnosed depressed Chinese patients. Andrew Ryder is investigating this possibility, focusing on the differences in the presentation of symptoms, as well as exploring larger theories about how self-concept and culture may affect the way patients experience and express depression. He hopes the research will increase the likelihood that Chinese-Canadian patients with depression receive appropriate diagnosis and care.