New Brunswick, N.J. (Dec. 20, 2018) – “The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason,” Dr. Seuss wrote.

But Anthony Tobia – a psychiatrist at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, disagrees: We should ask why the Grinch stole Christmas.

 Examining the motivations of the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge can help us better understand and remove the stigma from feelings of depression and isolation that can make people feel lonely and  disinterested during the holiday season, Tobia said. It’s an important lesson for people who struggle with depression, as well as for their loved ones and mental health providers.

“The Grinch isolates himself and escapes to the peak of Mount Crumpit, and this is an important fact in the narrative.  People who are depressed tend to isolate and that’s one of the telltale warning signs for family and friends. He has difficulty forming relationships and he ruminates, and develops this idea to steal happiness from others,” he said.

Tobia discusses the Grinch, Scrooge other fictional characters in courses that encourage students to analyze mental health issues through popular culture, and on his Psychology Today blog.

Read more on Rutgers Today.

Tobia is available for comment on holiday depression. Please contact Cynthia Medina to schedule an interview.




Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University–New Brunswick has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Cynthia Medina [email protected]



Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) takes an integrated approach to educating students, providing clinical care and conducting research, all with the goal of improving human health. Aligned with Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and collaborating university-wide, RBHS includes eight schools, a behavioral health network and four centers and institutes. RBHS offers an outstanding education in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, nursing, biomedical research and the full spectrum of allied health careers. RBHS clinical and academic facilities are located throughout the state.