In Russia, collectivism intensifies depression

Russian researchers have shown that in Russia a person who puts public interests above their own is at risk of suffering from depression. The study, supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation (RSF), was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences .

It is known that individualism dominates in the developed Western countries, especially in the United States, and collectivism in East Asian countries such as China and Japan. Russia in this case takes the middle position. It is shown that in East Asian countries collectivism serves as a protection factor against depression. There, anxiety, stress, and a tendency to suppress negative emotions have much less effect.

“We decided to test whether collectivism is a defensive factor against depression in Russia. The results of the analysis showed that, in contrast to East Asian countries, in Russia a collectivist orientation enhances the influence of predisposing factors on depression, ”said one of the authors of the article, Gennady Knyazev, project leader, Doctor of Biological Sciences, head of the laboratory for differential psychophysiology at the Research Institute of Physiology and Fundamental Medicine.

Experts from the Scientific Research Institute of Physiology and Fundamental Medicine and Novosibirsk State University collected psychometric data and, using the structural equation modeling method, analyzed to what extent the hypothetical model, widely used in psychology, corresponds to reality.

The results showed that the nature of collectivism in Russia differs from the collectivism of East Asian countries, which is based on Confucian values. Therefore, when treating depressive disorders, Russian doctors should focus on Western countries, and therapy should be aimed not at suppressing emotions, but at rethinking the situation.

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