Psychopathology and Bilingualism

  • Elizabeth Terrazas-Carrillo
Part of the The Bilingual Mind and Brain Book Series book series (BMBBS)


This chapter examines the relationship of psychopathology and bilingualism. Psychopathology encompasses psychological dysfunction, which is defined as impairment in cognition, emotion, and behavior. Because second language (L2) acquisition also impacts the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral domains, it is possible bilingualism may interact with psychopathology, resulting in a unique understanding, expression, and presentation of mental illness. While the literature exploring the intersection of psychopathology and bilingualism is scant, there is evidence of differential symptomology observed across languages spoken. The two main areas of research discussed focus on the dynamics of L2 acquisition and psychopathology, and the barriers that speaking an L2 can impose on the process of assessing and diagnosing mental illness. Moreover, the chapter also includes a discussion of the methodological and theoretical shortcomings present in much of the literature exploring the mechanisms and influence of bilingualism and psychopathology.


Bilingualism Psychopathology Mental health Emotions Language Mental illness 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas A&M International UniversityLaredoUSA

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