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J Clin Psychiatry. 1989 May;50(5):181-3.

A case of koro in a refugee family: association with depression and folie à deux.

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  • 1University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455.


Koro, a folk syndrome involving fear of genital retraction, is known to occur in epidemic fashion and is usually associated with anxiety symptoms. The author describes a sporadic case of koro accompanied by psychotic depression in a refugee. The refugee's wife, who was also suffering a major depression, also believed that the patient was undergoing genital retraction with a potentially fatal outcome. The cultural, familial, and acculturative stresses associated with the syndrome are described. Resolution of the koro syndrome and its associated psychopathology required interventions on biomedical, psychological, familial, and sociocultural levels.

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