Women's Self-Silencing and Depression in the Socio-cultural Context of Germany

Tanja Zoellner and Susanne Hedlund

in Silencing the Self Across Cultures

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195398090
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199776900 | DOI:
Women's Self-Silencing and Depression in the Socio-cultural Context of Germany

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This chapter explores how the construct of self-silencing can contribute to our understanding of the effects of socio-cultural expectations placed on German women. The authors provide historical and social perspectives on the experiences of German women to illustrate the explanatory role of self-silencing theory for depression. The chapter describes German values regarding women's mothering roles (e.g., self-sacrifice and selflessness) and relates those values to risk factors for self-silencing and depression, presenting evidence that the Silencing the Self Scale distinguishes between depressed women, agoraphobic women, and healthy women. The authors also examine self-silencing, attachment styles and effects of violence on depression. They suggest that the experience of violence is an underlying factor for both self-silencing and mental health problems in women, and emphasize the importance of the trend in Germany toward increased public awareness of the damaging effects of violence against women.[Q1]

Keywords: self-silencing; germany; social values; intimate partner violence; depression; agoraphobia; attachment styles; silencing the self scale

Chapter.  9435 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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