Cultural Considerations and Culture-Specific Disorders: Overview

Culture, race, and ethnicity have long been acknowledged sources of influence on normal and abnormal psychological phenomena, but the role they have been given in understanding mental health disorders has changed over time. This entry first defines cultural groupings and how they are assessed in the empirical literature. The predominant and contrasting views that have guided theory about culture’s role in mental health disorders are described. The entry outlines the change from extreme and narrow positions to increasingly sophisticated frameworks that acknowledge the role of both culture and biology in the expression of psychopathology. Examples of such integration specifically with regard to depression and dissociative phenomena are presented. Hypotheses about the mechanisms by which culture exercises its effects on psychopathology are also outlined. The role ...

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