Comparative Study

| Published: March 31, 2019

Attitudes towards Depression in India: Lower Socio-Economic-Status Groups May Demonstrate Higher Tolerance

Gaurav Suri

Department of Psychology San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA Google Scholar More about the auther

DIP: 18.01.105/20190701

DOI: 10.25215/0701.105


By any measure, depression is a severe problem in India. Adding to the suffering associated with the condition itself are judgmental and stigmatizing attitudes that are nearly ubiquitous in all strata of Indian society. Such social disapproval prevents millions of people from seeking appropriate medical attention which in-turn leads to added distress and increased burdens for affected individuals and their families. A more granular understanding the social attitudes towards depressed individuals may help in policy-makers devise campaigns to reduce depression-related stigmatization – and is therefore an important health priority. At first glance, levels of stigma and misinformation with respect to people suffering from depression are uniformly high and oppressively negative. However, when responding to a vignette, individuals from low socio-economic-status (SES) backgrounds unexpectedly tended to be more accepting (i.e. showed less social distance) towards people described as having symptoms of depression compared to individuals from higher SES backgrounds (Study 1). However, this difference in SES-based levels of stigma disappeared when depression was labelled as a mental disorder in a questionnaire (Study 2). This finding is relevant in designing interventions to combat the stigma attached to depression. 

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ISSN 2348-5396

ISSN 2349-3429

DIP: 18.01.105/20190701

DOI: 10.25215/0701.105

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Published in   Volume 07, Issue 1, January-March, 2019

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