Journal article

The Lay Concept of ‘Mental Disorder’: A Cross-Cultural Study

C Giosan, V Glovsky, N Haslam

Transcultural Psychiatry | Published : 2001

Abstract

Lay concepts of ‘mental disorder’ were investigated in three countries (U.S.A., Romania and Brazil). Participants judged whether a sample of conditions – some falling inside and some outside the borders defined by DSM-IV – were mental disorders, and rated them on features invoked in professional understandings of ‘mental disorder.’ The concept of mental disorder was considerably more inclusive and convergent with the DSM-IV in the American sample than in the Brazilian sample, and disorder judgments showed only moderate agreement across cultures. Several features of the concept were culturally distinctive, amounting to a more ‘internalist’ or intrapsychic understanding in the American sample.

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