Lay accounts of depression amongst Anglo-Australian residents and East African refugees.
ABSTRACT Layperson accounts of depression are gaining increasing prominence in the health research literature. This paper considers the accounts of lay people from a cross-cultural perspective. By exploring lay concepts of distress from Anglo-Australian, Ethiopian and Somali communities in Australia, we describe commonalities and divergences in understandings of depression. A total of 62 Anglo-Australians were interviewed, and 30 Somali and Ethiopians participated in focus groups and individual interviews. Anglo-Australian accounts frequently portray depression as an individual experience framed within narratives of personal misfortune, and which is socially isolating. In the accounts of distress from the Somali and Ethiopian refugees living in Australia, family and broader socio-political events and circumstances featured more frequently, and 'depression' was often framed as an affliction that was collectively derived and experienced.