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Acta Psiquiatr Psicol Am Lat. 1995 Dec;41(4):265-74.

[Clinical dimensions of contemporary cultural psychiatry].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

  • 1Dpto. de Psiquiatría, Emory University School of Medicine, Decatur, GA 30033, USA.


In spite of the difficulties to define the term "culture" there is agreement with regards to its profound influence in the contemporary social environment of which medicine and psychiatry are important components. Cultural psychiatry studies psychopathology inasmuch as it reflects and it is subjected to the influence of cultural factors within the biopsychosocial context. Its contemporary clinical dimensions cover five fundamental areas: culture as an interpretive/explanatory instrument of human behavior; as a pathogenic/pathoplastic agent; as a diagnostic/nosological factor; as a therapeutic/protective element, and as a tool for management and service delivery. This paper examines the conceptual nature of each of these roles and presents pertinent examples from the clinical literature, away from theoretical lucubrations. The cultural legacy of each and every patient seen by the psychiatrist or any other mental health professional demands serious studies and effective actions at all levels.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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