Monday, April 15, 2013

Eastern and Western Stigma Towards Mental Disorders

This study was conducted in order to see if Asian and Asian American attitudes towards eugenics were more favorable than European American views.  China has had a long history of endorsing Eugenics policies when it comes to mental disorders.  In 1994, a law was passed that would deny a marriage license to a couple that couldn't pass an examination that determines whether or not the person has a genetic history of mental illness.  Back in the 30's and 40's China would also force sterilization and abortion upon mentally ill people.  There is a studied stigma within the Chinese community that is biased against genetic diseases, but not so much against mental diseases that are non genetic.  Westerners also have a social bias against mental illness, but the study was focused on which culture favored eugenics against these illness more.

A study called random Chinese and European Americans to give them questionnaires that would judge their stigma.  One questionare concerned whether or not the subject would allow their children to date, marry, or reproduce with someone who had  schizophrenia or a major depressive disorder.  The second questionare was a categorizing task.  Each subject was given a vignette that would describe a person and their behavior. The subject had to sort the vignettes that determined if the character had a mental illness.

The tests had varying results, but statistically the hypothesis that Asian Americans were more likely to endorse eugenic statements.

I hope this article wasn't out to bash a certain group of people.  Sure it may be harsh to deny marriage to a couple because of their hereditary history, but I thought the U.S. did that, and sterilization as well.  As for the willingness to answer favorably towards eugenic statements, I wonder if that has to deal with sociological issues.  Chinese Americans like the Tiger mom make the Asian and Asian American culture of the perfect student and child famous.  I grew up with friend who dealt with it too.  The whole Idea if, "If you don't get and A, then you are nothing,"  is very prevalent, because of a need for their children to succeed.  I wonder if this mentality translates into the disorder stigma.  China is also known for population control as well.  I think you can have around two children in a marriage, and both parents usually hope for a boy.  There is a long history of raising and producing the perfect son or daughter to take over the family.  I wonder if that is why people with mental disorders are shunned so much.  They can't be singled out that much though.  Look how the Europeans acted during World War Two.

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