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Psychiatr Q. 1995 Winter;66(4):329-41.

Assessing, diagnosing and treating culturally diverse individuals: a Hispanic perspective.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas/Houston Health Science Center, USA.


Psychiatry has always been influenced by culture. The cultural identity of both providers and consumers, their cultural perceptions of mental illness and its treatment, their psychosocial and socioeconomic environment, all could have a major impact on the psychiatric diagnosis made, on the treatment chosen, and on the ultimate outcome of a therapeutic intervention. Within this context, I will, in this article, examine the most important cultural connotations in today's mental health system. I will define the Hispanic-American population of this country since this ethnic group is the one that I will use as a model. I will also depict the most prominent mental health traits of this population. Additionally, I will review the cultural barriers that impede the access and retention of Hispanic-American patients into the mental health system. Finally, I will advance areas for future research in the field of cultural psychiatry. Hopefully, this article will stimulate investigators to conduct further research in the field of cultural psychiatry and to help improve the mental health care system of culturally diverse individuals residing in this country.

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