[SitM: there’s more to spending your life working for a fancy car or house. If more people thought in terms of time, like spending 2000 hours of their time earning $$$ to buy their current car, they might make different decisions. There’s always going to be someone with a nicer car. Don’t get into that cycle, it’s a no-win. Do stuff that makes you happy]
Affluent countries, including the U.S., tend to have higher rates of depression than lower-income nations such as Mexico, a new study from World Health Organization researchers suggests.
In face-to-face interviews, teams of researchers surveyed nationally representative samples of people in 18 countries on five continents — nearly 90,000 people in all — and assessed their history of depression using a standardized list of nine criteria.
In addition to looking at personal characteristics such as age and relationship status, the researchers divided the countries into high- and middle-to-low income groups according to average household earnings.
The proportion of people who have ever had an episode of clinical depression in their lifetime is 15% in the high-income nations and 11% in lower-income countries, the study estimates.
France (21%) and the United States (19%) had the highest rates, while China (6.5%) and Mexico (8%) had the lowest.
It’s not clear what accounts for this pattern, says Evelyn Bromet, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Stony Brook University, in Stony Brook, New York. But she stresses that wealth — and happiness — are relative concepts.
“Wherever you are, there’s always people doing better than you,” Bromet says. “You’d think that countries that are better off should have lower rates [of depression], but just because they have a high income doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of stress in the environment.”
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