People in affluent nations may be more depression-prone

[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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stainless St(br)ainless is one of the founders of Soul in the Machine. His duties include, but are not limited to, sweeping the floors, scrubbing the toilets and taking out the garbage.



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