WWU's Dana Jack co-authors new book on depression in women
Oxford University Press has published “Silencing the Self Across Cultures: Depression and Gender in the Social World,” co-authored and edited by Western Washington University Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Dana C. Jack.
This book is the successor to Jack’s groundbreaking 1991 book, “Silencing the Self: Women and Depression,” in which Jack wrote about how women’s self-silencing – not voicing their feelings, opinions or anger in order to avoid conflict or loss of relationship – led to their higher rates of depression than men.
Jack’s initial research proved to be so successful in identifying the problems associated with self-silencing that her theory and research instrument, the Silencing the Self Scale, began to be used in cultures across the globe. Researchers were interested to see how varying societal pressures and rules might influence women – and men – to self-silence, and how the repercussions of self-silencing might change depending on cultural differences and dynamics. This new book focuses on the efforts of 21 authors in 13 countries – ranging from Poland and Portugal to Nepal and Finland – who used Jack’s research framework to shed new light on self-silencing and its consequences within differing and unique cultures.
“We are social creatures – we need strong relationships in our lives to thrive and be healthy. Self-silencing prevents close connection with others, averts support, and creates isolation,” Jack said. “At the very bottom line, our research shows that women’s self-silencing correlates with depression across cultural lines and geographical boundaries. Self-silencing theory offers a new way to understand depression, not as a deficit or problem within an individual, but as ways of interacting in relationship that are harmful to oneself and to relationships. These self-silencing thoughts and behaviors are tied to gender and inequality.”
Jack not only supplied the research methodology used by the book’s researchers and co-edited the entire book, she also wrote her own chapter, with two Nepali colleagues, about her research on self-silencing among men and women in Nepal.
“This book represents a grouping of minds from a range of cultures around a single theory, and it enriches our knowledge and understanding of how self-silencing is related not only to depression, but also to other physical and mental health issues in women and men,” she said.
Jack co-edited “Silencing the Self Across Cultures: Depression and Gender in the Social World” with Alisha Ali, an associate professor of Applied Psychology at New York University. Ali also contributed a chapter on self-silencing among Caribbean immigrant women in the United States and Canada.
See the book online here, or for more information on “Silencing the Self Across Cultures: Depression and Gender in the Social World,” contact Dana C. Jack at (360) 650-4913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WWU's Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, established in 1967, is nationally recognized for innovation in teaching and learning, intensive advising, student-designed majors, narrative assessment, experiential and independent learning and a commitment to social justice.