Deuteronomy 6:1-8; Mark 12:28-34
Message: Uncommon Community
I was reading about a study done at Northwestern University that provides some fascinating findings about individualism, community and mood - especially depression. You can find the actual study HERE but, trust me, it can be depressing just to sort through the pyscho-lingo in these things. (I think that one day they'll do another study revealing that those who do these studies are more likely to be depressed). This wasn't a People magazine pop-poll sort of thing; it was a real, scientific, brain-mapping, chemical, genetic, confusing study.
They looked at genetic markers for depression. It turns out that some people have a specific "short allele - a depression gene," that predisposes them to depression. So one part of the study looked for any sort of correlation between cultures/races that have a bunch of these pesky short alleles. Here's what they found:
- Some cultures have a significantly greater genetic predisposition to depression (the short allele)
- Some cultures have much higher rates of depression
The study also looked at where cultures are on the spectrum of individualism vs collectivism. In other words, are collective cultures (those that are structured more towards the community than the individual) or individualistic cultures more prone to depression?
- The culture with the genetic marker for depression has significantly lower rates of depression.
- The culture that, genetically, should suffer lower rates of depression - is the the one full of depressed people.