I understand that Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy portrayed Russians as a brooding, complicated people, and ethnographers have confirmed that Russians tend to focus on dark feelings and memories more than Westerners do. But that may not be all bad after the results of a study released finds that even though Russians tend to brood, they are less likely than Americans to feel as depressed as a result. It seems that the University of Michigan conducted a survey, actually two surveys completed in the US and in Russia between 2007 and 2008. The studies examined 171 and 168 students, respectively. All respondents were around 21 years old…
The reports on the outcomes of two separate studies conducted with funding from the National Institute of Mental Health. In one study, the researchers examined the prevalence of self-reflection and depression among 85 U.S. students and 83 Russian students. Participants completed tests designed to measure their levels of brooding, and their level of depressive symptoms. The researchers found that Russians were more likely to brood, but that doing so was associated with fewer depressive symptoms than the Americans.
In the second study, 86 U.S. and 76 Russian students were asked to recall and analyze their “deepest thoughts and feelings” about a recent unpleasant interpersonal experience. The researchers measured their level of distress after this exercise. Then participants were asked to indicate the extent to which they adopted a self-immersed perspective (seeing the event replay through their own eyes as if they were right there) versus a self-distanced perspective (watching the event unfold as an observer, in which they could see themselves from afar) while analyzing their feelings.
Compared to the Americans, the Russians showed less distress after recalling the experience, and were less likely to blame the other person in their analysis of the experience. Importantly, Russians also indicated that they were more likely than Americans to spontaneously distance themselves from their experience while analyzing their feelings. And this tendency to self-distance was linked with lower levels of distress and blame.
But according to these surveys it was found out that even though Russians look like the biggest grumpy people on earth that they are happier than Americans…
But we are talking about 21 year olds…
Windows to Russia!
- Brooding Russians: Less distressed than Americans (eurekalert.org)
- Brooding Russians are happier than they look (theglobeandmail.com)
- “Study: Russians Gloomier but Less Depressed” and related posts (robertamsterdam.com)
- Gloomy Russians less depressed than cheerful Americans – research (rt.com)
- Brooding Russians: Less distressed than Americans (esciencenews.com)
- Brooding Russians: Less distressed than Americans (physorg.com)