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Explanatory model of help-seeking and coping mechanisms among depressed women in three ethnic groups of Fars, Kurdish, and Turkish in Iran.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.
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2008 (English)In: Arch Iran Med, ISSN 1029-2977, Vol. 11, no 4, 397-406 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Explanatory model of help-seeking and coping mechanisms among depressed women in three ethnic groups of Fars, Kurdish, and Turkish in Iran.

Dejman M, Ekblad S, Forouzan AS, Baradaran-Eftekhari M, Malekafzali H.

Department of Psychiatry, Welfare and Rehabilitation University, Tehran, Iran.

BACKGROUND: As one of the most prevalent diseases globally and as an important cause of disability, depressive disorders are responsible for as many as one in every five visits to primary care doctors. Cultural variations in clinical presentation, sometimes make it difficult to recognize the disorder resulting in patients not being diagnosed and not receiving appropriate treatment. To address this issue, we conducted a qualitative pilot study on three ethnic groups including Fars, Kurdish, and Turkish in Iran to test the use of qualitative methods in exploring the explanatory models of help-seeking and coping with depression (without psychotic feature) among Iranian women. METHODS: A qualitative study design was used based on an explanatory model of illness framework. Individual interviews were conducted with key informant (n=6), and depressed female patients (n=6). A hypothetical case vignette was also used in focus group discussions and individual interviews with lay people (three focus groups including 25 participants and six individual interviews; n=31). RESULTS: There were a few differences regarding help-seeking and coping mechanisms among the three ethnic groups studied. The most striking differences were in the area of treatment. Non-psychotic depressive disorder in all ethnicities was related to an external stressor, and symptoms of illness were viewed as a response to an event in the social world. Coping mechanisms involved two strategies: (1) solving problems by seeking social support from family and neighbors, religious practice, and engaging in pleasurable activities, and (2) seeking medical support from psychologists and family counselors. The Fars group was far more likely to recommend professional treatment and visiting psychiatrists whereas the other two ethnic groups (i.e., Turks and Kurds) preferred to consult family counselors, psychologists or other alternative care providers, and traditional healers. CONCLUSION: The study has educational and clinical implications. Cultural reframing of the patient's and family's perceptions about mental illness and depression may require community education. Family counseling, family therapy, and also religious practices can be used to empower the patient.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 11, no 4, 397-406 p.
Keyword [en]
Coping, Ethic Group, Help-Seeking, Nonpsychotic Major Depression
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-14886PubMedID: 18588372OAI: diva2:181406
Internt P2671Available from: 2008-11-07 Created: 2008-11-07 Last updated: 2011-01-10Bibliographically approved

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