The social experiences of depression among Lakehead University students
Master of Arts
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While depression is known to be prevalent among university students (Ibrahim et al. 2013), there has been little research on how students deal with this in day-to-day life. Drawing on 21 semistructured interviews with university students who have a medical or self-diagnosis of depression, this qualitative study aims to explore the social experiences with the condition. This study has four main objectives: to learn if university students with depression experience stigma and the impacts of this experience, if and how they decide to open up to people about their depression, how depression impacts their daily lives, and how media depictions of depression impact student comprehension of their own depression. Schutz’s (1967) and Berger and Luckmann’s (1966) notion of “typifications” is used to explore how students encounter and interpret mass media representations of depression. The mass media was considered influential in shaping peer understandings of depression and in turn their relationships with others. I draw on Goffman’s (1963) theory of stigma to understand how students decide whether to conceal their depression from others or disclose it in order to receive support. I conclude by discussing the implications for understanding the impact of depression in everyday life as well as policy recommendations for student services.