Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

Effects of Self-Criticism and Its Relationship with Depression across Cultures

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

Effects of Self-Criticism and Its Relationship with Depression across Cultures

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to test the cross-cultural predictions of the associations between self-criticism and depression. The participants consisted of 642 undergraduates - 200 of them studying in Japan, and 442 of them studying in the United States (Las Vegas: 242; Hawaii: 200). The results indicated that independent self-construal in the U.S. and Japan is negatively associated with comparative self-criticism, which bolstered college students' taking criticism personally and, in turn, contributed to a high level of depression among participants. However, interdependent self-construal in Japan is positively associated with internalized self-criticism, which bolstered college students' taking criticism personally and, in turn, contributed to a high level of depression among participants. Discussion of these results and their implications is provided, followed by suggestions for future research on culture, self-criticism, the tendency to take criticism personally which leads to high level of depression, and the interventions and implications of such research.

Keywords: cross-cultural underpinning, self-criticism, depression, health, intervention

1. Introduction

Self-criticism has received increased attention as a marker for vulnerability to depression and other psychological disorders in adolescents and adults (Blatt, Hart, Quinlan, Leadbeater, & Auerbach, 1993). This personality style is associated with fragile self-esteem and a fear of failure and scrutiny from others (Blatt et al., 1993). Self-criticism is hypothesized to develop in individuals with cold, rejecting, and controlling parents who make their love contingent on their child's achievements. This personality style is implicated in poor personal and social functioning and adjustment throughout adolescence and adulthood (Blatt, 2004). Researchers often discuss individuals' experiences with critical, rejecting parents who display inconsistent love (Thompson & Zuroff, 2004). Children are likely to internalize these experiences to form negative internal working models of self, other, and self-other relationships. These experiences then have an impact on subsequent interpersonal interactions, thereby leading to a high level of depression (Blatt et al., 1993). However, this assertion has been recently called into question by cultural psychologists (Markus & Kitayama, 1991, 1994), and by the cross-cultural investigation of self-criticism on depression. Specifically, the degree to which people engage in the two types of self-criticism patterns (comparative and internalized) can be a powerful impetus for action. The effect of these types of self-criticism on depression, however, has not been extensively examined in cross-cultural research.

The purpose of this study is to examine the cultural underpinnings of loss of self-criticism and the taking of criticism personally-or the absence of such loss. Drawing on an independence-interdependence theory of cultural self (Markus & Kitayama, 1991, 1994), we assert that comparative self-criticism may not always be directly linked to depression in cultures that privilege independence. This is because such a perception can compromise the ever-important sense of the self as independent. In contrast, internalized self-criticism is likely to be unequivocally beneficial in cultures that privilege interdependence. To investigate this cross-cultural prediction of self-criticism, we examine depression. Furthermore, we test college students at three different locations.

This article is organized as follows. First, we review the differences between self-construal and depression as delineated in the psychological and communication literature. Second, we explicate two moderating factors-comparative self-criticism and internalized self-criticism-from a cross-cultural perspective, and propose a conceptual model specifying their respective influences on depression. Third, we describe a study conducted to test the conceptual model, followed by an analysis of the results. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.