In observation of regions where depersonalization seems to be more prominent, they may be genuine differences in the prevalence of DP across different cultures.
An intriguing example would be the observation that Parikh (1981) drew from using the Dixon depersonalization scale to screen a sample of 288 Indian psychiatric in-patients and found that only 7.6% reported depersonalization symptoms.
In contrast to these findings, another study, which also used a questionnaire, found that, in a sample of 100 American psychiatric in-patients, 40% endorsed at least five features of depersonalization.
The prevalence of depersonalization and the findings may suggest that cultural influences on how the self is construed may be relevant in explaining the prevalence across different cultures.
Due to the findings suggesting DPD is highly reported in the ‘west’ in comparison to other parts of the world. It has been established that the ‘west’ is categorized by highly individualistic cultures, whilst Asia, Africa and most Latin American countries are predominately collectivistic.
Emerging evidence suggests that individualism and collectivism within culture can exert an influence on cognition and emotions. Although research and studies on the effects of individualism and collectivism are limited, it would seem that highly ‘individualistic’ cultures confer vulnerability to conditions categorized by feelings of alienation and detachment, such as DP/DR.
In addition to the link between DPD and individualism, symptoms across cultures also found a high correlation between ‘individualism’ and the ‘fear of losing control’.
This perceived lack of control may have a role in triggering and the maintenance of depersonalization responses. These findings suggest those from individualistic cultures are likely to experience greater ‘fear of loss of control’ than those from collective societies.
I conducted my own survery on 35 randomly selected chronic sufferers of DPD. The findings I gathered, supported the claim of a higher prevalence of DPD in the 'west.'
Depersonalization and Culture