Journal Article

Stagnation as a Distinct Clinical Syndrome: Comparing ‘<i>Yu</i>’ (Stagnation) in Traditional Chinese Medicine with Depression

Siu-man Ng, Cecilia L. W. Chan, David Y. F. Ho, Yu-Yeuk Wong and Rainbow T. H. Ho

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 3, pages 467-484
Published in print April 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Stagnation as a Distinct Clinical Syndrome: Comparing ‘Yu’ (Stagnation) in Traditional Chinese Medicine with Depression

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Background: Depression was translated into Chinese as yiyu, with reference to the yu syndrome in traditional Chinese medicine. Literally meaning ‘not flowing, entangled or clogged’, yu, or ‘stagnation’ in English, is, however, a construct distinct from depression. Objective: The study aimed to explore the construct of stagnation through scale development. Method: A concept-driven approach was adopted to generate candidate items for the Stagnation Scale. Other measures were a validity checking item, a Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and a twelve-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Respondents were recruited by convenience and snowball sampling, resulting in 602 questionnaires being completed by adults between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five. Results: Exploratory factor analysis provided a three-factor, sixteen-item solution. The three factors were named Overattachment, Body-Mind Obstruction and Affect-Posture Inhibition. Cronbach’s alphas of the entire scale and subscales ranged from 0.82 to 0.91. Correlations of the scale total with the validity checking item, BDI and GHQ-12 were 0.71, 0.53 and 0.48, respectively. Stagnation showed a pattern of associations with demographic variables different from depression. Conclusion: The Stagnation Scale has good psychometric properties, and has meaningful factor structures. The evidence supports the contention that stagnation is a clinical syndrome distinct from depression. The new concept has important implications for social work practice.

Keywords: depression; stagnation; Chinese medicine

Journal Article.  6343 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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