Psychological Studies

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 32–41 | Cite as

Personality Disorders in the Indian Culture: Reconsidering Self-Perceptions, Traditional Society and Values

Research in Progress
  • 47 Downloads

Abstract

Until recently, personality disorder research in India has been a largely neglected area. A small body of epidemiological research reveals lower prevalence rates for personality disorders in India than seen globally. The present study aims to examine personality disorders within the lens of family of origin and values, thereby providing a culturally relevant framework to understand this heterogeneous and complex clinical condition. The participants were recruited over a 2-year time period and comprised of 20 adults with personality disorders who, using a matched case-control design, were compared with 20 participants from the community. A total of three focus groups were conducted to develop themes for an in-depth interview that highlighted four context specific themes relevant to personality disorders (mood states that impact the self, significant life experiences, impact of family of origin and procreation, and value organization). The study revealed several key findings. Like previous studies, borderline and avoidant personality disorders were more common. Interestingly, participants were brought to the clinical setting in their late twenties. Internalized emotional reactions were predominant. The family acted as both a source of stress, abuse and support, with ties being maintained with extended family such as grandparents, siblings and spouse. Dissonance between individual values and existing pluralistic Indian cultural belief system was experienced. The findings highlight the requirement for expanding on cultural models of personality disorders in South Asian settings and integrating them into mainstream psychosocial assessment and interventions.

Keywords

Personality disorders Cultural values Self-perception Family functioning India 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

References

  1. Alnaes, R., & Torgersen, S. (1989). Personality and personality disorders among patients with major depression in combination with dysthymic or cyclothymic disorders. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia, 79(4), 363–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publication.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Avasthi, A. (2010). Preserve and strengthen family to promote mental health. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 52(2), 113–126.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Brijnath, B. (2012). Why does institutionalized care not appeal to Indian families? Legislative and social answers from urban India. Ageing & Society, 32(4), 697–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Government of India (2011). Census of India: Provisional population totals. New Delhi: Author.Google Scholar
  6. Gupta, S., & Mattoo, S. K. (2010). Personality disorders: Prevalence and demography at a psychiatric outpatient in North India. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 58(2), 146–152.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Hyler, S. E. (1994). The Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4+. New York: New York State Psychiatric Institute.Google Scholar
  8. Kapoor, S., Hughes, P. C., Baldwin, J. R., & Blue, J. (2003). The relationship of individualism–collectivism and self-construals to communication styles in India and the United States. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27(6), 683–700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kleinman, A., & Benson, P. (2006). Anthropology in the clinic: The problem of cultural competency and how to fix it. PLoS Medicine, 10(3), 1673–1676.Google Scholar
  10. Lamb, S. (1997). The making and unmaking of persons: Notes on aging and gender in North India. Ethos, 25(3), 279–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mascolo, M. F., Misra, G., & Rapisardi, C. (2004). Individual and relational conceptions of self in India and the United States. New directions for child and adolescent development 104, 9–26.Google Scholar
  12. Masten A.S., & Garmezy N. (1985) Risk, vulnerability, and protective factors in developmental psychopathology. In B. B. Lahey & A. E. Kazdin (Eds.), Advances in clinical child psychology (Vol. 8, pp. 1–52). New York, NY: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  13. Murthy, S. (2011). Mental health initiatives in India (1947–2010). National Medical Journal of India, 24(2), 98–107.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Pfohl, B., Conyell, W., Zimmerman, M., & Stangl, D. (1986). DSM-III personality disorders: Diagnostic overlap and internal consistency. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 27(1), 21–34.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Roland, A. (1988). In search of self in India and Japan. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Sagiv, L., Roccas, S., & Hazan, O. (2004). Value pathways to wellbeing: healthy values, value goal attainment, and environmental congruence. In A. Linsley & J. Stephen (Eds.), Positive psychology in practice (pp. 68–85). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  17. Schwartz, S. H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 25, pp. 1–65). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  18. Sharan, P. (2012). An overview of Indian research in personality disorders. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 52(Suppl1), 250–254.Google Scholar
  19. Sinha, D., & Tripathi, R. C. (2001). Individualism in a collectivist culture: A case of coexistence of opposites. In A. Dalal & G. Mishra (Eds.), New directions in Indian psychology (pp. 241–256). New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Sinha, J. B. P., & Verma, J. (1987). Structure of collectivism. In C. Kagitcibasi (Ed.), Growth and progress in cross-cultural psychology (pp. 123–129). Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
  21. Sinha, J. B. P., Vohra, N., Singhal, S. R., Sinha, B. N., & Ushashree, S. (2002). Normative beliefs about collectivist–individualist intentions and behavior of Indians. International Journal of Psychology, 37(5), 309–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Suh, E. M. (2002). Culture, identity consistency, and subjective wellbeing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(6), 1378–1391.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Tandon, S. (2004). Perception of family functioning and coping in relation to personality clusters in young adults. Unpublished Dissertation, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences.Google Scholar
  24. Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical PsychologyNational Institute of Mental Health and Neuro SciencesBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Consultant, Mental Health and Human DevelopmentBangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations