Emergence of Psychiatry in Papua New Guinea

  • Burton G. Burton-Bradley


Archaeological research suggests a long history of institutionalised clan warfare. Some of the leaders may well have been mentally disturbed if the chiliastic movements of modern times are any indication, but we have little data. The prehistory of the country indicates that items of military hardware were by no means uncommon. They were a prominent feature among the 700 odd cultural linguistic groups in geographical contiguity.1 The social behaviour clearly had its origins not only in social interaction as such but in personal individual aggression as well and it would not be unreasonable to infer that psychopathology played its part here as it certainly has in institutionalised aggression elsewhere.2 The Pax Australiana has had a mitigating influence since the late nineteenth century but the aggressive oppositional stance of the different groups still continues following Independence in 1975 particularly in the Highlands. This is essential to intragroup solidarity but not necessarily to the intrapsychic stability of some of the members.


Cerebral Malaria General Medical Service Oedipus Complex Military Hardware Geographical Contiguity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Burton G. Burton-Bradley
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Papua New GuineaPort MoresbyPapua New Guinea

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