Cross-cultural Psychiatry

  • G. M. Carstairs


Instances of socially unacceptable behaviour occur in every society, and every society has developed explanations to account for them, and procedures for dealing with such deviant persons. The commonest explanation—inspired no doubt by the subject’s change of personality and his often incomprehensible speech—is that of spirit possession; indeed Ackerknecht (1968, p. 1) has suggested that this mode of explaining mental derangement became, by extension, the explanation for all other forms of illness also. Rosen (1968) has drawn attention to recognisable descriptions of psychotic behaviour in ancient Hebrew literature as long ago as 1020 B.C. He also refers to the distinction made in early Greek medicine between madness due to natural causes (such as abuse of alcohol) and enthusiasmos or divine madness, which was seen as a mark of election, so that its victims were treated with some awe, as people who had enjoyed direct communication with supernatural powers—a concept which we saw temporarily revived by R. D. Laing, in some of his apocalyptic utterances, some eight years ago.


Psychiatric Symptom Traditional Healer Current Theme Psychiatric Morbidity Psychosomatic Symptom 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ackerknecht, E. (1968). A Short History of Psychiatry ( 2nd edn ). Hafner, London and New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Assael, M. and German, G. A. (1970). Changing society and mental health in Eastern Africa. Israel Ann. Psych. Rel. Discip., 8, 52–74Google Scholar
  3. Bernstein, B. (1961). Social class and linguistic development: a theory of social learning. In Education, Economy and Society (Ed. A. H. Halsey, J. Floud and A. Anderson), Free Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  4. Bremer, J. (1951). A social psychiatric investigation of a small community in northern Norway. Acta Psychiat. neurol., Supplement 62Google Scholar
  5. Carstairs, G. M. (1955). Magic and faith in rural Rajasthan. In Health, Culture and Community (Ed. B. D. Paul), Russell Sage, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Carstairs, G. M. (1956). Hinjra and Jiryan: two derivatives of Hindu attitudes to sexuality. Br. J. Med. Psychol., 29, 5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carstairs, G. M. (1975). Measuring psychiatric morbidity in a South Indian population. Bull. Br. Psychol. Soc., 28, 95–101Google Scholar
  8. Carstairs, G. M. and Kapur, R. L. (1976). The Great Universe of Kota: Stress change and Mental Disorders in an Indian Village. Hogarth Press, London; California University Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  9. Dube, K. C. (1970). A study of prevalence of mental illness in Uttar Pradesh, India. Acta psychiat. scand., 46, 327CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Ebie, J. C. (1972). Some observations on depressive illness in Nigerians attending a psychiatric outpatients clinic. Afr. J. Med. Sci., 3, 149–155PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Freud, S. (1930). Civilisation and its Discontents. Hogarth, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Giel, R. and Van Luijk, J. N. (1969). Psychiatric morbidity in a small Ethiopian town. Br. J. Psychiat., 115, 149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Illich, I. (1974). Medical Nemesis: the Expropriation of Health. Calder and Boyars, LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. Kapur, R. L., Kapur, M. and Carstairs, G. M. (1974a). Indian Psychiatric Interview Schedule (IPIS). Social Psychiat., 9, 61–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kapur, R. L., Kapur, M. and Carstairs, G. M. (1974b). Indian Psychiatric Survey Schedule (IPSS). Social Psychiat., 9, 71–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kessel, W. I. N. (1965). ‘Are international comparisons timely?’ In Comparability in International Epidemiology (Ed. R. M. Acheson ), Milbank Memorial Fund, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Leff, J. P. (1973). Culture and the differentiation of emotional states. Br. J. Psychiat., 123, 299–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Leighton, A. H., Lambo, T. A., Hughes, C. C., Leighton, Dorothea C., Murphy, Jane M. and Macklin, D. B. (1963). Psychiatric Disorder among the Yoruba. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Leighton, Dorothea C., Harding, J. S., Macklin, D. S., Macmillan, A. M. and Leighton, A. H. (1963). The Character of Danger: Psychiatric Symptoms in Selected Communities. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Lin, T. Y. (1953). A study of the incidence of mental disorder in Chinese and other cultures. Psychiatry, 16, 313PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Lin, T. Y., Rin Hsien, Yeh, E. K., Hsu, C. C. and Chu, H. M. (1969). Mental disorders in Taiwan, fifteen years later. In Mental Health Research in Asia and the Pacific (Ed. W. Caudill and T. Y. Lin), East-West Center Press, Honolulu, pp. 66–91Google Scholar
  22. Neki, J. S. (1973). Psychiatry in South-East Asia. Br. J. Psychiat., 123, 257–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rosen, G. (1968). Madness in Society. Routledge amp Kegan Paul, LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. Shepherd, M., Cooper,B., Brown, A. C. and Kalton, G. (1966). Psychiatric Illness in General Practice. Oxford University Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. Srole, L., Langner, T. S., Michael, S. T., Opler, M. K. and Rennie, T. A. C. (1962). Mental Health in the Metropolis: The Mid-town Manhattan Study. McGraw-Hill, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Stramgren, E. (1950). Statistical and genetical population studies within psychiatry: methods and principal results. In Report of the International Congress of Psychiatry, Vol. VI, Herman et Cie, Paris, pp. 155–190Google Scholar
  27. Verma, S. K. and Wig, N. N. (1974). A cross-cultural comparison of psychiatric patients on some of the parameters of Cornell Medical Index. Manas, 21, 17–25Google Scholar
  28. Verma, S. K., Wig, N. N. and Pershad, D. (1974a). A comparative study of medical and psychiatric patients in India on Cornell Medical Index. Indian J. Clin. Psycholog., 1, 104–8Google Scholar
  29. Verma, S. K., Wig, N. N. and Pershad, D. (1974b). A comparative study of rural and urban population in India on Cornell Medical Index. Indian J. Clin. Psycholog., 1, 109–113Google Scholar
  30. Whorf, B. (1956). Science and linguistics. In Language, Thought and Reality (Ed. J. B. Carroll), Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  31. Wig, N. N. and Verma, S. K. (1973a). PGI Health Questionnaire N–1: a simple Neuroticism Scale in India. Indian J. Psychiat., 15, 80–88Google Scholar
  32. Wig, N. N. and Verma, S. K. (1973b). PGI-HQ-N1: further data on the patient population. Psychol. Studies, 18, 10–13Google Scholar
  33. Wig, N. N. and Verma, S. K. (1973c). A cross-cultural study of psychiatric patients on Cornell Medical Index. Indian J. Psychiat., 15, 363–6Google Scholar
  34. Yap, P. M. (1951). Mental diseases peculiar to certain cultures: a survey. J. Ment. Sci., 97, 313–27PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Yap, P. M. (1967). Classification of the culture-bound reactive syndromes. Austral. N. Z. J. Psychiat., 1, 172–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Raghu N. Gaind and Barbara L. Hudson 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. M. Carstairs

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations