Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Psychiatry. 1999 Sep;156(9):1322-7.

Research on culture-bound syndromes: new directions.

Author information

  • 1Rutgers University, NJ, USA. gortch@rci.rutgers.edu


The unprecedented inclusion of culture-bound syndromes in DSM-IV provides the opportunity for highlighting the need to study such syndromes and the occasion for developing a research agenda to study them. The growing ethnic and cultural diversity of the U.S. population presents a challenge to the mental health field to develop truly cross-cultural approaches to mental health research and services. In this article, the authors provide a critique of previous analyses of the relationship between culture-bound syndromes and psychiatric diagnoses. They highlight the problems in previous classificatory exercises, which tend to focus on subsuming the culture-bound syndromes into psychiatric categories and fail to fully investigate these syndromes on their own terms. A detailed research program based on four key questions is presented both to understand culture-bound syndromes within their cultural context and to analyze the relationship between these syndromes and psychiatric disorders. Results of over a decade of research on ataques de nervios, a Latino-Caribbean cultural syndrome, are used to illustrate this research program. The four questions focus on the nature of the phenomenon, the social-cultural location of sufferers, the relationship of culture-bound syndromes to psychiatric disorders, and the social and psychiatric history of the syndrome in the life course of the sufferer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk