Thanks Thanks:  6
Likes Likes:  1
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO, USA
    Posts
    283
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Western societies more prone to mental illness?

    There is one thing that has occured to me, through all the websites I have scanned, people I met, and things that I have seen, I have yet to see someone from a non-westernized nation (Like Africa, South America, China, etc.) report having a mental illness. It may just be the language barrier, but it seems like the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK have a higher ratio of mental illness than other nations. I have met quite a few internationals (have a close Indian friend, Vietnameese friend, and Syrian friend that have all responded negative to mental illnesses)

    Is this a stigma that is inaccurate due to the language barriers and lack of technologies in less westernized nations, or... is there something we do in our western cultures (like individualism) that promotes mental illness?

    Theories? Thoughts? Facts? Figures?
    "Remember in the depth and even the agony of despondency, that very shortly you are to feel well again"-Abraham Lincoln

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    13,939
    Mentioned
    58 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Western societies more prone to mental illness?

    China has a higher suicide rate than most countries, including the United States:

    List of countries by suicide rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    (Lithuania has the highest rate in those figures because of economic problems in their transition to democracy.)

    I would agree that development (not necessarily Westernization) of a country can shift the source of pain, disability, and cause of death from physical to mental, e.g. more American teenagers and young adults die from suicide than physical illness (not including accidents). And I would agree that individualism in the sense of greater social isolation is a significant factor in predisposing people to mental illness, but the rural women of China who suicide at an alarming rate highlight the mental health advantages of individualism:

    In China, one woman kills herself every four minutes.

    According to World Health Organisation statistics, China is the only country in the world where more women commit suicide than men...

    No way out

    Xie Lihua, editor of China's foremost women's magazine, agrees that traditional values are a problem.

    "If a woman goes to live with her husband's family and they treat her well, or if she's found someone who loves and respects her, she'll be all right. If not, things will be very difficult for her.

    "This is because there's a saying among men that goes: 'marrying a woman is like buying a horse: I can ride you and beat you whenever I like'."

    ...For most women there is no easy way out of an unhappy marriage.

    ...Xu Rong estimates that 70-80% of suicides are the direct result of conflicts between husbands and wives.

    BBC NEWS |
    Programmes | Traditions weigh on China's women
    Last edited by Daniel; September 1st, 2008 at 02:03 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    35,574
    Mentioned
    21 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Western societies more prone to mental illness?

    And more generally, that thesis for this thread is simply incorrect. Apart from dietary/nutritional differences, mental illness does not vary according to nationality or racial/ethnic background.

    However, available services for treatment of mental illness and social stigma against openly acknowledging mental illness do seem to vary from one racial-ethnic group to another.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    13,939
    Mentioned
    58 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Western societies more prone to mental illness?

    Quote Originally Posted by BluMac81
    ... is there something we do in our western cultures (like individualism) that promotes mental illness?
    One possibility is so-called status anxiety, which can have an alienating effect:

    Status Anxiety discusses the desire of people in many modern societies to "climb the social ladder" and the anxieties that result from a focus on how one is perceived by others. De Botton claims that chronic anxiety about status is an inevitable side effect of any democratic, ostensibly egalitarian society.

    Status Anxiety - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    But, ironically and fortunately, such status anxiety requires conditions like democracy that can promote both physical and mental health:

    Democracy: the forgotten determinant of mental health [Health Promot J Austr. 2007] - PubMed Result

    Another possible contributing factor is identity crises recurring more often, e.g.

    Given today's rapid development in technology, global economy, dynamics in local and world politics, one might expect identity crises to recur more commonly now than even thirty years ago, when Erikson formed his theory.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identit...is_(psychology)
    But, again, there is a flip side to identity crises since one can constantly reinvent oneself and isn't stuck with a given role preordained by society.
    Last edited by Daniel; September 1st, 2008 at 04:43 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    13,939
    Mentioned
    58 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Western societies more prone to mental illness?

    Quote Originally Posted by BluMac81
    ... is there something we do in our western cultures (like individualism) that promotes mental illness?
    BTW, I saw this article again today:

    In primitive and survival-dependent societies, social isolation was basically impossible. But modern societies have never been without chronic existential worries about isolation and loneliness.

    It is hard to believe and accept that we live in a society where one person in four feels they don't have someone to confide in. It's depressing and even somewhat terrifying.

    The Lonely States Of America, CBS' Meyer On A Sociology That Should Scare You - CBS News
    So, to reiterate, if you change "western" to "modern," then I think your thesis makes sense regarding isolation, etc.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    13,939
    Mentioned
    58 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Western societies more prone to mental illness?

    5 Ways to Handle a Snob

    Snobs who feed their desire to feel superior by engaging in conspicuous consumption need to have an admiring audience, or they wouldn’t bother spending so much more than necessary on the stuff of everyday life.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    13,939
    Mentioned
    58 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Re: Western societies more prone to mental illness?

    Do western societies promote narcissism? -- ScienceDaily
    January 25, 2018

    Researchers...were able to show that a person's inflated sense of self-importance develops in response to societal influences. "Contemporary western societies promote narcissism. People who grew up on the western side of the former East-West border or West-Berlin had higher levels of narcissism than those who spent their childhood in the former German Democratic Republic," explains Prof. Röpke. He adds: "In our study, this was shown to primarily apply to 'grandiose narcissism', a type of narcissism that is characterized by an exaggerated sense of superiority."

    "Overall, our results suggest that levels of narcissism and self-esteem are influenced by societal factors. Western societies appear to promote increased levels of narcissism among their citizens."

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Disclaimer: PsychLinks is not responsible for the content of posts or comments by forum members.

Additional Forum Web Design by PsychLinks
© All rights reserved.