Cross-cultural Study of the Prevalence of Depressive Symptoms and Its Severity in Iranian and Indian Adolescents


Department of Psychology Payame Noor University Tehran, Iran


The purpose of the present study was to explore the prevalence of depression and the relationship between prevalence of depression and various socio-demographic factors in the adolescent population of India and Iran by giving special attention to gender and age (mid- vs. late-adolescence). Twelve schools (six schools from three different areas of each country and two schools for each of the three areas) were selected through randomized cluster sampling and 1600 students from these schools were included (aged from 14 to 19). Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS) and Demographic Information Sheet were administered for data collection. The data were analyzed using Odds Ratio. The findings suggest that prevalence rates for adolescent depressive symptoms and their severity in India are comparable to those in Iran. Depressive symptoms prevalence with respect to nationality and gender was also examined. Results indicated that somatic symptoms of loss of libido, anorexia,  constipation, psychomotor retardation along with affective symptoms of sadness and spells of crying may offer a sensitive grouping in the detection of depression in Indian adolescents and cognitive/affective symptoms of dissatisfaction, diurnal variation, indecisiveness, emptiness, self-depreciation, irritability and one somatic symptom of sleep disturbance may present as a group of symptoms for the detection of depression in Iranian youth. This information may help the clinicians of both cultures in their work with adolescents and may enhance the accuracy of determining the early appearance, onset, and course of mental health problems in these populations.