Beyond WEIRD: Associations between socioeconomic status, gender, lifetime stress exposure, and depression in Madagascar

This article was originally published here

J Clin Psychol. 2021 Apr 6. doi: 10.1002/jclp.23131. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: Although research has examined associations between socioeconomic status (SES), gender, and acute and chronic life stressors in depression, most studies have been conducted in Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic (WEIRD) populations.

METHOD: We addressed this issue by interviewing 65 adults (55 women, Mage = 37) living in Madagascar, a typical low- and middle-income country.

RESULTS: As hypothesized, women experienced more life stressors and depressive symptoms, on average, than men, as did those from lower (vs. higher) SES backgrounds. Additionally, lifetime stress exposure was associated with greater symptoms of depression, accounting for 19% of the variability in depressive symptom levels. These effects differed for acute versus chronic and distal versus recent stressors. Finally, stress exposure significantly mediated the relation between SES and gender on depressive symptoms, accounting for 24.0%-70.8% of the SES/gender-depression association depending on stressor type.

CONCLUSION: These data extend prior research by describing how social stratification and gender relate to lifetime stress exposure and depressive symptoms in a non-WEIRD population.

PMID:33825203 | DOI:10.1002/jclp.23131