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Psychopathology. 1999 Sep-Oct;32(5):225-34.

Comparison of delusions among schizophrenics in Austria and in Pakistan.

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Clinical Departments for Social Psychiatry, University Hospital of Vienna, Austria.


One of the central purposes of cross-cultural psychiatry is to scrutinize the sociocultural influences on the phenomenology of psychiatric diseases. On the other hand it is possible to lay bare a nucleus of symptoms, common to all cultures, which, independently of all influences, occupies a central position for an understanding of the disease considered. In this study an attempt was made to approach this problem by means of investigating the contents of delusion of schizophrenic patients in Austria and Pakistan. The contents of delusion among 126 Austrian and 108 Pakistani patients diagnosed as having schizophrenia according to DSM-III-R (art. 295) were compared following the classification of Huber and Gross. Additionally the kind of persecution and the type of the persecutor were registered. However it appeared that only a few contents of delusion are frequent in both countries. In both countries persecution was the most frequently mentioned content of delusion. The comparison of the contents of delusion revealed significantly higher frequencies of delusions of grandeur, guilt and religious delusions in Austrian patients. Significant differences could also be found with the kind of persecution and the persecutor's type. Cultural factors seem to have a decisive influence on shaping the contents of delusion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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