Print version ISSN 0185-3325
NATERA REY, Guillermina et al. <<I'm no use at all; I'd be better off dears>>: Towards the construction of the perception of depressive symptoms in an indigenous community. Salud Ment [online]. 2012, vol.35, n.1, pp.63-70. ISSN 0185-3325.
Introduction Mental health can have different meanings in indigenous communities, which is why understanding mental problems requires studying the context. Knowledge of mental health in these communities sheds light on the population's perception of how they live and experience the stressful events that cause depressive symptomatology. The aim of this article is to analyze the link between the symptoms expressed in an indigenous population and the symptoms evaluated using the Depression Scale of the Center for Epidemiological Studies (CES-D) and its link with socio-demographic variables. Method The sample comprises indigenous women from the Mezquital Valley who attended medical consultations and were referred for psychological treatment since they were considered to be suffering from emotional malaise due to their inability to cope with living with a relative who was a heavy drinker. A mixed method that explores meanings was used to analyze the information. This method involves the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data that complement each other in order to understand the cultural context and influences. The quantitative analysis consisted of obtaining the score for depressive symptomatology and its link with socio-demographic variables such as academic achievement, age, occupation and marital status. Presence (experiencing the symptom in the week prior to the interview, regardless of the number of days) and persistence (experiencing the symptom from five to seven days) were analyzed. Results and discussion Sixty-two per cent obtained high scores for depressive symptomatology. The qualitative data indicate that the women expressed feelings that correspond to items in the CES-D. Working and being young constitute a protective factor that provides women with a social life and a degree of independence. The effectiveness of the CES-D as a screening instrument means that it can be applied in primary health care to alert professionals and ensure timely referral. Conclusion The CES-D scale is suitable for measuring depressive symptomatology in Mexico's indigenous population. However, these findings must be treated with caution because of the population's meanings and representations of health and illness.
Keywords : Indigenous people; depressive symptomatology; mixed analysis.