A comparative study of depression between Korean and Scottish mothers at their two important life-stages
This is a comparative study of the depression experienced by Korean and Scottish mothers at two life stages: the postnatal stage; and the stage where the child is ready to leave secondary school education. The study investigates: (1) differences in depression scores between the two life stages as well as between the two cultures; (2) the relationship between depression and (a) the attributional style of mothers in respect of matters concerning their child, (b) social support system, (c) recent life events; (3) how these relationships vary with the life stage of the mother and cultural influences, and (4) what is the most important related factor of depression for these mothers. The study is based on a sample of 361 middle class mothers (216 Korean and 145 Scottish mothers). Depression was assessed by using the Beck Depression Inventory (1978), while attributional style was measured by using the Mother's Role Questionnaire which was specially designed for this project. The social support system was measured by the Social Support Inventory which was also designed specifically for this project. Life events were assessed by using the relevant part of the Miller's Coping Schedule (1987), which was also revised for the purpose of this research. Main results A. Depression: (1) Within each culture there were no significant differences in the levels of depression experienced by the mothers at the two life stages sampled. (2) Cultural differences in depression were found: (a) Korean mothers, at both life stages, showed significantly higher total depression scores than did their Scottish counterparts. (b) Korean mothers showed significantly higher scores overall items in the Beck Depression Inventory not only somatic scales but also cognitive-affective ones. B. Relationships between depression and independent variables: (1) a) A significant relationship between the social support system and depression scores of mothers was found. This was particularly notable in the case of the support received from other people. b) Cross-cultural sub-groups showed significantly different support systems. i) Support systems were more highly related with the depression scores of the Scottish than the Korean mothers. ii) Overall areas of the support systems related better with depression scores of the Scottish mothers, whereas practical help did for the Korean mothers, especially for the old Korean group. iii) The spouse was identified as the most important and effective supporter for both the Scottish groups of mothers and the young Korean mothers. (2) Although Korean mothers attributed internally and Scottish mothers attributed externally, the relationship of depression with attributional style was not significant. (3) The number of recent life events showed significant, yet low correlations with depression scores. However, no specific type of event showed a significant relationship to depression. (4) For the Korean mothers, the social support system was the only factor which was significant to the depression. With the Scottish mothers (especially the old group) the attributional style and number of recent life events were important as the social support system. These results were discussed and the theoretical implications were considered.