Beyond patient culture: filtering cultural presentations of depression through structural terms

Bianca Brijnath, Josefine Antoniades

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


There is growing global consensus for researchers to look beyond patient culture to gain a more nuanced understanding of the ways in which wider socio-structural forces influence health outcomes. In line with these critiques, this paper examines culturally diverse patients’ views about the symptoms, aetiology, and experiences of their depression, and considers how socio-structural forces are implicated in the illness experience. Analysing the transcripts of interviews with 28 Indian-Australians and 30 Anglo-Australians with depression, our results reveal cultural differences between Indian- and Anglo-Australians regarding the chronicity, perceived severity, and aetiology of their depression. Our results also show how these cultural differences are related to socio-structural forces such as time, money, and migration. We conclude by arguing that the current medicalised approach to treating depression needs to shift to a more empathetic problem-solving one; such a change would prompt greater critical consideration of the socio-structural forces that impact people’s mental health and not just focus on individuals’ culture and pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-247
Number of pages11
JournalCritical Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2018


  • Australia
  • culture
  • depression
  • distress
  • poverty
  • structure

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