Somatic and cognitive domains of depression in an underserved region of Ecuador: some cultural considerations

Publication Date



World Psychiatry


Not enough research efforts on depression have been carried out up to now in Latin America. The knowledge that has resulted from research activities in the United States or Europe offers limited generalizability to other regions of the world, including Latin America. In the Andean highlands of Ecuador, we found very high rates of moderate and severe depressive symptoms, a finding that must be interpreted within its cultural context. Somatic manifestations of depression predominated over cognitive manifestations, and higher education level was protective against depression. These findings call for an appreciation of culturally-specific manifestations of depression and the social factors that influence them. These factors must be further studied in order to give them the deserved priority, allocate resources appropriately, and formulate innovative psychosocial interventions.