Perceived Discrimination and Depressive Disorders in Europe: Individual and Societal Perspectives
Raphaela Stadelmann, MA; Prof. Dr. Nils Mevenkamp

Background: Discrimination is still a neglected determinant when assessing the contributors to mental illness, particularly in Europe. In the present study perceived discrimination is discussed as risk factor for developing depressive disorders. A low self-esteem caused by the internalisation of negative appraisals is suggested as pathway between discrimination and depression. On a macro-level, cross-national variations regarding tolerance towards minorities and its impact on mental health are analysed. Methods: Using data from the European Social Survey 2012 and Eurobarometer 2012 logistic regression analysis and Mann- Whitney-U-test were applied. Results: Victims of discrimination were found to be almost 80% (OR = 1.787, CI= 1.574 – 2.029) more likely to be depressive than those not exposed to discrimination. Minorities reported to feel significantly less positive about them (p < 0.01). The risk for being depressive is significantly higher in EU member states with low tolerance levels (OR= 1.417, CI = 1.240 – 1.619). Conclusion: Perceived discrimination proves to be an additional stressor for the mental health of individuals at both the individual and societal level. Discrimination and its impact on self-esteem should get more attention in research, prevention, and treatment of mental disorders.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijhs.v4n3a4