WORLDVIEW DIFFERENCES LEAD TO DIVERGING INTERPRETATIONS OF DEPRESSION-RELATED SUFFERING
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractHumanism is a worldview emphasizing interpersonal warmth, emotional expression, imagination, and humanity’s inherent goodness. Normativism is a worldview emphasizing discipline, emotional restraint, empiricism, and humanity’s inherent badness. We reasoned that worldviews could influence how people construe suffering. Prior research suggests there are two prominent suffering construals in contemporary U.S. culture. A Redemptive construal posits that suffering’s purpose is to lead to greater awareness and self-development, while a Biomedical construal sees biological frameworks as the standard for understanding suffering. In two studies, we examined how these worldviews and construals shape how people interpret suffering arising from depression. In Study 1, we predicted correlations between Humanism and a Redemptive construal, and Normativism and a Biomedical construal of depression. Results confirmed the hypothesis. In Study 2, we hypothesized that priming participants with Humanism or Normativism would increase endorsement of Redemptive and Biomedical construals, respectively. We discovered that exposure to Humanism (compared to Normativism) induced more support for a Redemptive construal, and less for a Biomedical construal, of depression. However, Normativism exposure did not result in an increased preference for a Biomedical, compared to a Redemptive, construal. We propose that the worldviews people encounter and endorse can shape their interpretations of depression.