Culture and the self: implications for the perception of depression by Australian and Vietnamese nursing students


  • Anne J Fry RN BA M Litt,

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Lecturer m Mental Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Western Sydney—Nepean, and the Blacktown City Mental Health Service.
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  • Tiep Nguyen BA Assoc Dip

    1. Bi-Cultural Counsellor, Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS), NSW Department of Health, Fairfield, New South Wales, Australia.
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Anne J Fry, Faculty of Nursing and Health Studies University of Western Sydney PO Box 10 Kingswood, NSW 2747 Australia.


The theoretical influence of self-concept on cognitive and emotional aspects of behaviour was tested in an exploratory survey of 187 Australian and Vietnamese student nurse participants Symptoms of depression were depicted in either a family scenario or a context-free list and were rated for perceived depression utilizing the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HSCL-25) Narrative data were also obtained Australians perceived significantly more depression than the Vietnamese who normalized the behaviours There was a significant interaction between culture and the context of depression, whereby the Vietnamese, in contrast with the Australians, perceived greater depression in the family scenario than in the list Thematic analysis of narrative data assisted interpretation by revealing Vietnamese themes of family and disruption of social harmony, philosophical and temporal approach to life and judgementalism Australians were more focused on individual concerns such as psychological disturbance and the need for independence Implications for transcultural nursing were drawn