Cross-Cultural Comparison of Mental Health Shame: Negative Attitudes and External, Internal, and Reflected Shame About Mental Health in Japanese and UK Workers
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AbstractAlthough often categorised by cultural differences (e.g., collectivism and individualism), Japan and the United Kingdom have several cultural commonalities. One of them is that both countries are known to have a ‘shame culture’; people in these countries often recognise shame in their lives relating to their cultural virtues. While shame can lead to social conformity, this negative affect associated with a sense of inadequacy can also damage our wellbeing. Because of the rapid advancement of technologies in these economically developed countries in the 4IR, workers are put under greater pressure, which is associated with more mental health problems. Their challenged mental health is further exacerbated by strong shame associated with mental health problems. Accordingly, we examined mental health shame in UK and Japanese workers. Four hundred workers (131 Japanese and 269 UK workers) completed measures of mental health and mental health shame, specifically negative attitudes, external, internal, and reflected shame. The results showed that Japanese workers had higher levels of mental health problems and shame than UK workers. In both countries, mental health and shame were overall associated with each other, apart from some family-related variables in Japanese workers. Family reflected shame was a significant predictor in Japanese workers, while self reflected shame was a significant predictor in UK workers. We discuss the implications of these findings with particular reference on how to reduce mental health shame in Japanese and UK workplaces and the provision of solutions for better work mental wellbeing, relating to the advantages of technologies. Because shame often involves perception of others, online interventions may be useful as they can be undertaken by each worker at a private place (instead of their office). Such individualised interventions enabled by the technologies of the 4IR may help to address shame-associated mental health problems in modern workplaces.
CitationKotera, Y., Sheffield, D., Green, P. & Asano, K. (2020). 'Cross-cultural comparison of mental health shame: Negative attitudes, external, internal and reflected shame about mental health in Japanese and UK workers'. In Mayer, C. H., Vanderheiden, E., amd Wong. P. (Eds.). 'Shame 4.0 Investigating an Emotion in Digital Worlds and the Fourth Industrial Revolution'. New York: Springer, pp. 55-71.
PublisherSpringer International Publishing