Beliefs about Causes of and Risk Factors for Mental Disorders: A Comparison of Japanese and American College Students

  •  Niwako Yamawaki    
  •  Christina Riley    
  •  Takeshi Sato    
  •  Mika Omori    


Objective: Patterns of mental health literacy in depression between college students in the United States andJapan were examined. Participants: 289 American students and 298 Japanese students were recruited. Methods:Students read a scenario in which a man presents the symptoms of major depression and completed surveys thatmeasured the ability to identify mental illness, beliefs in helpfulness of interventions, and described previousexperience with depression. Results: National and gender differences were found in the ability to correctlyrecognize depression, beliefs in the cause of the depression, and recommended intervention. An interaction effectof country and gender was found for recommended intervention. Path-analytic mediation analyses showed thatthe national differences in recognition for depression were mediated by the national differences in experiencewith depression. Conclusions: Implications of the national and gender differences in MHL on the utilization ofmental health services are discussed.

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