Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 195–224 | Cite as

Cultural consonance and psychological distress: examining the associations in multiple cultural domains

  • William W. Dressler
  • Mauro C. Balieiro
  • Rosane P. Ribeiro
  • José Ernesto Dos Santos


Cultural consonance is the degree to which individuals, in their own beliefs and behaviors, approximate widely shared cultural models. In previous research in Brazil and the United States we found that higher cultural consonance in the cultural domains of lifestyle and social support was associated with lower psychological distress. The aim of this paper is to expand on these results in two ways. First, the measurement of cultural consonance has been improved through a closer link of cultural domain analyses and survey research. Second, the number of domains in which cultural consonance has been examined has been expanded to include—along with lifestyle and social support—family life, national identity, and food. We found that cultural consonance in these five domains can be conceptualized as two latent variables of generalized cultural consonance, and that this generalized cultural consonance is associated with lower psychological distress. These results continue to support the usefulness of cultural consonance as a theoretical construct in the explanation of human social suffering.


cultural consonance cultural consensus analysis psychological distress culture theory Brazil 



This research was supported by a research grant from the National Science Foundation (BCS-0090193). Roy D’Andrade offered helpful comments on an early draft of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • William W. Dressler
    • 1
  • Mauro C. Balieiro
    • 2
  • Rosane P. Ribeiro
    • 3
  • José Ernesto Dos Santos
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyPaulista UniversityRibeirão PretoBrazil
  3. 3.School of NursingUniversity of São Paulo -Ribeirão PretoRibeirão PretoBrazil
  4. 4.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of São Paulo-Ribeirão PretoRibeirão PretoBrazil

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