A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Help-Seeking for Symptoms of Depression in Japanese Primary School Teachers
Ethnicity, Self-Construal, and Subjective Perception
This cross-cultural study investigates help-seeking for depression among Japanese primary school teachers. Help-seeking for depressive symptoms is examined quantitatively by administering the Help-Seeking Scale for Depression among participants. In addition, this study qualitatively examines the help-seeking pathways of participants according to Kleinman's explanatory model of help-seeking. The objective of the study was to determine possible motivators for Japanese and other Asian people to seek professional help for symptoms of mental illness.
The participants consisted of 71 Japanese school teachers from four primary schools located in the Kansai region of Japan. Participants' conceptualizations of depression were assessed using the Help-Seeking Scale for Depression (HSSD) after reading a vignette describing depressive symptoms. Participants' perceived severity of depressive symptoms (hypothesis 1) and prior therapy/counseling experience (hypothesis 2) significantly predicted professional help-seeking. The prevalence of depression was significantly higher in female participants (hypothesis 3); results indicating prevalence were non-significant for males. Hypotheses 1 and 2 were supported at p < .05; Hypothesis 3 was supported at p < .05 for females, but not males.
Additional open-ended questions were evaluated according to content analysis methods suggested by Kleinman (1980) and Kawamoto (2004). Certain implications for mental healthcare services in both Japan and Western cultures were discussed, including reasons for the underutilization of professional mental health services among Japanese people and other Asian groups.