238855 Stigma, Gender Inequality, and Depression in Bangalore, India

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 3:30 PM

Deepa Rao, PhD, MA , Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Major depressive disorder takes on a unique shape and stigma in India. In this work, we set out to explore presentations of psychological distress among psychiatric outpatients at a mental health institution in Southern India. During the process, we were struck by the report of women who expressed symptoms of depression. Of the 32 women who participated in the study, 75% qualified for a diagnosis of a current major depressive episode. Their narrative accounts of their experience suggested that the depressive symptoms appeared to be the direct result of social arrangements that constitute, in Farmer's terms, structural violence. The stigmas of being impoverished and female in a socio-culturally patterned context appear to give rise to experiences that contribute to depressive symptoms for the women in the present study. Although only a partial response to gender based suffering, psychiatric treatment seemed the only acceptable means of coping with their circumstances. The paper concludes by moving beyond a reductionistic model of psychiatric disease and symptomatology to explore more direct ways of addressing the suffering that women experience as a consequence of structural violence.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss determinants of depressive disorder among women in India

Keywords: Women, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a clinical psychologist and faculty in the Department of Global Health
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.