The Cultural Shaping of Depression: A Qualitative Investigation Into Afghan Women’s Perspectives on Depression

Mustafaeva, Shahlo
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Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Regina

In recent years, Major Depression has become one of the most widely researched areas in the field of cross-cultural psychology. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the number of people diagnosed as having this disorder has increased substantially not only in Western cultures, but also in Asian cultures. While much literature focuses on the rates of depression, less research has studied cultural variations of depression in various immigrant and refugee groups. Understanding culture-specific symptoms and idioms of distress will enable clinicians to identify psychiatric conditions and psychological distress and provide culturally sensitive services. Because little is known about Afghan refugee women’s conceptualization of depression, this study explores their conceptualization of depression and their help-seeking behaviours. First and second generation Afghan women were recruited to participate in focus groups and individual interviews. A total of 19 women (eight first generation and 11 second generation) participated in this study. Two focus groups (one for each generation) followed by eight individual interviews were conducted. Grounded theory was used to identify common themes across participants’ accounts. Four common themes emerged from this study: communicating depression, stated causes of depression, coping, and recommendations for support. These themes overlapped with first and second generation women.

A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology, University of Regina. vii, 154 p.