Insisting on Depression, but not Showing Symptoms: A Japanese Study of Excuse-Making

Itsuki Yamakawa, Shinji Sakamoto

Abstract


Since the late 1990s, Japanese psychiatrists have reported the appearance of a Modern Type Depression (MTD), which has different features from melancholic depression. Using a case vignette method, we looked at one of the distinctive features of MTD; that is, “insisting on depression”. In particular, we examined whether the statement “I think I may have depressive disorder” can be accepted as an excuse for not fulfilling ones’ duty when one does not show any symptoms of depressive disorder. Participants comprised 344 Japanese undergraduates who were presented with a short scenario describing social predicaments and who subsequently assessed the excuse value in terms of impression and behavioral reaction on the transgressor. Results showed that even though the transgressor did not show any symptoms of depressive disorder, insisting that one may have depressive disorder seemed to be accepted. Additionally, consistent with Weiner’s cognitive (attribution)–emotion–action model, the more positive impressions observers have on the transgressor, the more they are motivated to react kindly to the transgressor. Some unexpected findings and limitations of the present study were discussed.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ijps.v7n2p146

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International Journal of Psychological Studies   ISSN 1918-7211 (Print)   ISSN 1918-722X (Online)

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