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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 1976 Mar;10(1A):89-94.

Associative illness among aboriginals.


Associative mental illness occurring in close relatives is described from Numbulwar and Yirrkala Missions, two Aboriginal communities in Eastern Arnhem Land. Since it is a clear example of the influence of culture on mental illness, these factors which facilitate the production of the illnesses are examined. They are (1) cross-identification between members of the clan group; (2) the assumption that mental illness is caused by sorcery which acts to detriment of all the relatives in a clan group, not only on the individual; (3) the belief that mental experiences in general are not private and may be shared by close relatives.

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