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Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 315–337 | Cite as

A Cross-Cultural Approach to the Study of the Folk Illness Nervios

  • Roberta D. Baer
  • Susan C. Weller
  • Javier Garcia de Alba Garcia
  • Mark Glazer
  • Robert Trotter
  • Lee Pachter
  • Robert E. Klein
Article

Abstract

To systematically study and document regional variations in descriptions of nervios, we undertook a multisite comparative study of the illness among Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Guatemalans. We also conducted a parallel study on susto (Weller et al. 2002, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 26(4): 449– 472), which allows for a systematic comparison of these illnesses across sites. The focus of this paper is inter- and intracultural variations in descriptions in four Latino populations of the causes, symptoms, and treatments of nervios, as well as similarities and differences between nervios and susto in these same communities. We found agreement among all four samples on a core description of nervios, as well as some overlap in aspects of nervios and susto. However, nervios is a much broader illness, related more to continual stresses. In contrast, susto seems to be related to a single stressful event.

Latino folk illnesses nervios susto 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta D. Baer
    • 1
  • Susan C. Weller
    • 2
  • Javier Garcia de Alba Garcia
    • 3
  • Mark Glazer
    • 4
  • Robert Trotter
    • 5
  • Lee Pachter
    • 6
  • Robert E. Klein
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of AnthropolotyUniversity of South FloridaTampa
  2. 2.Department of Preventive MedicineUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalveston
  3. 3.Social Epidemiological and Health Services Research, Unit of IMSS, and Hospital Civil of Guadalajara, J. I.Menchaca, GuadalajaraMexico
  4. 4.University of Texas Pan AmericanEdinburg
  5. 5.Department of AnthropologyNorthern Arizona UniversityFlagstaff
  6. 6.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Connecticut School of Medicine, St. Francis Hospital and Medical CenterHartford
  7. 7.Medical Entomology Research Training Unit/Guatemala (MERTU/G) Centers for Disease Control and PreventionGuatemala

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