Who are Prone to Depression: Asians or Westerners?

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Cultural differences between Western and Asian cultures in individualism-collectivism (I-C), a dimension of cultural variability, show a strong possibility that Asians are predisposed to more negative emotions than are Westerners.

sad why me GIF by The Room

Individualistic cultures, most of which are Western, promote individual needs, wishes, desires, and values over group and collective ones (Matsumoto, 1990). Consequently, hierarchical differences in status or power are minimized while equality is emphasized (Matsumoto, 1990).

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In contrast, collective cultures, many of which are Asian, promote the opposite; they stress the needs of a group, individuals identify themselves as members of a group, and one’s social role is defined by an entrenched system of hierarchical differences and vertical relationships (Matsumoto, 1990).

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Members of individualistic cultures tend to display more negative emotions to ingroup members and more positive emotions to outgroup members. Conversely, members of collective cultures tend to display more positive emotions to members of ingroups and more negative emotions to those of outgroups (Matsumoto, 1990).

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These display rules should predispose Asians to more negative emotions, which may result in depression, at least in the social interactions with outgroups.

Emotion regulation norms for Asian and Western cultures also demonstrate a greater likelihood for depression among Asians than among Westerners. Since emotion regulation refers to the ability to manage and modify one’s emotional reactions in order to achieve a desirable outcome, it reflects the different ways that culture tries to achieve social order (Matsumoto, Yoo, & Nakagawa, 2005).

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Cultural display rules, social roles, and emotion regulation norms have effectively contributed to the predisposition of Asians to be more passive, non-assertive, and anxious in interpersonal situations than Westerners (Okazaki, Liu, & Minn, 2002). The results from a study that examined differences between Asian American and White American on a trait measure of social anxiety and self-reports of anxiety-related emotions during a 3-min social performance task indicated that Asian Americans reported more anxiety than White Americans (Okazaki et al., 2002).

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Is Your Country Vulnerable to Disasters? See the List of the World Risk Index Report


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The World Risk Index 2016 ranked 171 countries according to how exposed and vulnerable they are to natural hazards, including earthquakes, floods and storms. Topping the list are Vanuatu, Tonga, Philippines, Japan, Costa Rica, Brunei, Mauritius, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Bangladesh. Except Japan and Brunei, one can notice that many in the top 10 are poor and developing countries. Yearly disasters is one reason why these countries experience  underdevelopment and extreme poverty.

Photo source: https://twitter.com/UNEnvironmentAP/status/769001042084147200



The Natural and Social Spheres of Vulnerability to Disasters

Examine the diagram and see the connection between natural disasters and social vulnerability of people to calamities:


Source: http://www.wheninmanila.com/philippines-now-3rd-most-disaster-prone-country-according-to-latest-world-risk-index/

Examine the list below and judge whether your country is vulnerable to disasters or not, Rank 1 would mean the the country is the most vulnerable (Vanautu) and Rank 100 (Laos) as the least vulnerable to calamities.


My country, the Philippines, is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world. It ranked #3 in the list below.


What is the consequences for the Philippines being ranked as one of the most vulnerable countries to disasters according to the report?

"The findings of the study, which was published by scientists from the United Nations University and from development organizations, mean that not only is the Philippines at great risk from natural disasters, but Filipinos are also more vulnerable to these natural hazards than people in most other countries. To put it bluntly: the higher a country is ranked in this index, the greater the chance that its inhabitants will die in a natural disaster, a thought that should be of some concern to local politicians and to everyone else in the Philippines" (http://www.wheninmanila.com/philippines).

How about yours? Do you see your country in the list below? Here is the list of countries in the world which are vulnerable to disasters:

The Top 100 Vulnerable Countries Worldwide

1. Vanuatu
2. Tonga
3. Philippines
4. Guatemala
5. Bangladesh 19.17
6. Solomon Islands
7. Brunei Darussalam
8. Costa Rica
9. Cambodia
10. Papua New Guinea
11. El Salvador
12. Timor-Leste
13. Mauritius
14. Nicaragua
15. Guinea-Bissau
16. Fiji
17. Japan
18. Viet Nam
19. Gambia
20. Jamaica
21. Haiti
22. Chile
23. Benin
24. Guyana
25. Niger
26. Madagascar
27. Dominican Republic
28. Cameroon
29. Chad
30. Honduras
31. Cape Verde
32. Senegal
33. Togo
34. Djibouti
35. Burundi
36. Indonesia
37. Sierra Leone
38. Zimbabwe
39. Burkina Faso
40. Albania
41. Afghanistan
42. Myanmar
43. Cote d’Ivoire
44. Mozambique
45. Uzbekistan
46. Suriname
47. Ghana
48. Mali
49. Netherlands
50. Guinea
51. Sudan
52. Nigeria
53. Malawi
54. Mauritania
55. Kyrgyzstan
56. Liberia
57. United Republic of Tanzania
58. Ecuador
59. Swaziland
60. Bhutan
61. Trinidad and Tobago
62. Algeria
63. Sri Lanka
64. Comoros
65. Panama
66. Zambia
67. Congo
68. Serbia
69. Rwanda
70. Ethiopia
71. Central African Republic
72. Pakistan
73. Lesotho
74. Kenya
75. Tajikistan
76. Greece
77. India
78. Peru
79. Belize
80. Uganda
81. Angola
82. Morocco
83. Colombia
84. Turkmenistan
85. China
86. Malaysia
87. Eritrea
88. Georgia
89. Thailand
90. Cuba
91. Bosnia and Herzegovina
92. Armenia
93. Gabon
94. Yemen
95. Mexico
96. Venezuela
97. Romania
98. Republic of Macedonia
99. Syrian Arab Republic
100. Lao People’s Democ. Republic

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