A cross-cultural comparison of depressive symptom manifestation: China and the United States

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2000 Dec;68(6):993-9. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.68.6.993.


This study compared depressive symptomatology among Chinese psychiatric outpatients versus the general Chinese population, and across 3 cultural groups--Chinese, Chinese American, and Caucasian American students--by use of the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D; L. S. Radloff, 1977) and the Chinese Depression Scale (N. Lin, 1989), translated from the CES-D. Results indicate that Chinese patients (n = 112) endorsed a higher proportion of somatic symptoms than nonpatients (n = 112). The intercultural comparison found that Chinese students (n = 98) had the lowest levels of somatic depressive symptom endorsement compared to both U.S. groups (n = 198). These findings seem to suggest that the tendency toward somatic symptom reporting is not any greater among Chinese populations but may be a function of having a mental illness or of help seeking in China.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian / psychology
  • China
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / ethnology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / ethnology
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology
  • Students / psychology
  • United States
  • White People / psychology