How does culture affect diagnosis

Topics: Schizophrenia, Mental disorder, Culture Pages: 2 (844 words) Published: April 16, 2014
How does culture affect diagnosis? (12)
Culture can affect the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, as different cultures have different attitudes to mental disorders. In Morocco, for example, it is thought you can catch a mental illness accidentally by encountering some sorcery, such as stepping on it. They truly believe mental disorders come from sorcery and evil things. This affects treatment and how the mentally ill person is seen – they are often feared as there is a possibility the evil could spread. Culture can also affect how much information a patient is likely to disclose. Casas (1995) found that a lot of African Americans do not like to share their personal information with people of a different race. Sue and Sue (1992) found that many Asian Americans don’t like to talk about their emotions and are more reluctant to admit to having a mental illness. Even when they do admit to being ill, they are not forthcoming in terms of discussing their symptoms with the therapist. This can affect diagnosis, as not all the symptoms may have been mentioned and so a suitable course of treatment cannot be easily formulated. One school of thought believes that culture does not affect diagnosis as mental disorders are scientific. The DSM was developed in the USA and is used widely in many other cultures. This is a valid use if mental disorders are clearly defined with specific features and symptoms. Basically, mental disorders are scientifically defined illnesses that are explained in a scientific way. Research evidence comes from Lee’s study (2006). This was conducted in Korea deliberately to see if the DSM-IV-TR was valid in a non-Western culture, and it was found that it was for ADHD. On the flip side, there are studies that have shown that culture can affect diagnosis. There are studies that have shown that culture can play an influential role in diagnosis. For example, symptoms that are seen in Western countries as characterising schizophrenia, such as...
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