Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health

2012 Edition
| Editors: Sana Loue, Martha Sajatovic

Culture-Specific Diagnoses

  • Delaney Smith
  • Tara Mayes
  • Riley Smith
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-5659-0_4

Introduction and History

Culture-specific diagnoses, also referred to as culture-bound syndromes, ethnic psychoses, and atypical culture-bound reactive syndromes, have been studied since the early eighteenth century. Culture-specific diagnoses encompass a diverse group of illnesses whose syndrome constellations are unique to certain cultural groups. While general medical conditions which localize to certain geographic regions or genetic groups have been historically included with the culture-specific diagnoses, the term is now primarily used to refer to mental health conditions. Culture-specific diagnoses are distinct from idioms of distress. Idioms of distress are a culturally unique presentation of coping with and expressing negative experiences and emotions (Kirmayer & Young, 1998). Idioms of distress are most commonly manifested as somatization with the body system and form of physical manifestation of the emotional distress varying by culture. Knowledge of both culture-specific...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Delaney Smith
    • 1
  • Tara Mayes
    • 2
  • Riley Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.Timothy B Moritz Forensic UnitTwin Valley Behavioral HealthcareColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Twin Valley Behavioral HealthcareColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Hahnemann University HospitalPhiladelphiaUSA