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Cult Med Psychiatry. 2007 Jun;31(2):195-224.

Cultural consonance and psychological distress: examining the associations in multiple cultural domains.

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  • 1Department of Anthropology, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA.


Cultural consonance is the degree to which individuals, in their own beliefs and behaviors, approximate widely shared cultural models. In previous research in Brazil and the United States we found that higher cultural consonance in the cultural domains of lifestyle and social support was associated with lower psychological distress. The aim of this paper is to expand on these results in two ways. First, the measurement of cultural consonance has been improved through a closer link of cultural domain analyses and survey research. Second, the number of domains in which cultural consonance has been examined has been expanded to include-along with lifestyle and social support-family life, national identity, and food. We found that cultural consonance in these five domains can be conceptualized as two latent variables of generalized cultural consonance, and that this generalized cultural consonance is associated with lower psychological distress. These results continue to support the usefulness of cultural consonance as a theoretical construct in the explanation of human social suffering.

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