DESIGN: A 2 (Culture; Malay, British) × 2 (Mood; depressed, control) cross-sectional design using a card sort task and self-report measures was used.
METHODS: Malay individuals with MDD or no history of MDD completed the life-structure card-sorting task, which provided a novel method for investigating organizational structure of the life narrative. These data were compared to previously collected data in which British individuals with MDD or without MDD had completed the same task within the same experimental protocol.
RESULTS: Pan-culturally those with MDD had greater negativity (i.e., used more negative attributes), negative redundancy (i.e., used the same negative attributes repeatedly across life chapters) and negative emodiversity (i.e., had greater variety and relative abundance of negative attributes), and reduced positive redundancy (i.e., used the same positive attributes repeatedly across chapters) in their structuring relative to controls. While the British MDD group had greater compartmentalization (i.e., the negative and positive attributes were clustered separately across different chapters) than British controls, the Malay MDD group had lower levels of compartmentalization than Malay controls.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest culture may shape aspects of the autobiographical life structure in MDD.
PRACTITIONER POINTS: The majority of the literature investigating depression pertains to individuals from European Western cultures, despite recognition that depression ranks as one of the most debilitating diseases worldwide. This raises questions as to whether current depression models and interventions can be applied universally or whether they are limited to European Western groups. The current study found that pan-culturally those with MDD had similar structuring of their life story relative to controls. However, there were some cultural differences that need to be considered (e.g., Malay individuals provided less detailed, less elaborate and less emotionally diverse life stories and while the British MDD group had greater compartmentalization than British controls, the Malay MDD group had lower levels of compartmentalization than Malay controls). Limitations of the study included group differences in gender and mood at the time of testing. Cultural differences in the number of attributes used may have influenced findings. Only the Malay group completed the individualism-collectivism measure.
METHOD: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted with a convenience sample of 482 Iranian cancer patients. Participants completed demographic and health, death depression, and religious coping surveys.
RESULTS: After controlling for demographic and health characteristics, positive and negative religious coping behaviors were significantly related to the experience of death depression. There was an interaction effect between negative religious coping and extent of disease with significant positive relationships to the experience of death depression.
CONCLUSIONS: Negative religious coping was found to be more closely associated with death depression in patients with earlier stage disease than those with advanced stages of cancer in this sample of patients with cancer from Iran. Findings support assessing patients for use of religious coping strategies. Muslim patients who are religiously alienated and have existential anguish may be vulnerable and need heightened support following diagnosis and during treatment of early stage cancer.