Isaac Scientific Publishing
Psychology Research and Applications
PRA > Volume 3, Number 1, March 2021

Schizophrenia, Culture, and Culture-Bound Syndromes

Download PDF  (190 KB)PP. 1-13,  Pub. Date:April 13, 2021
DOI: 10.22606/pra.2021.31001

Kevin Volkan
Department of Psychology, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA, United States; Graduate Medical Education Program, Community Memorial Health System, Ventura, CA, United States
Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that affects people all around the world. It presents in many different contexts, across geographic boundaries, and in different ways. Rates of schizophrenia seem generally to be the same regardless of geographical location, though there is some evidence that those in developed nations have a higher incidence of the disorder. Also, immigrants who relocate to areas where their culture has little, or no representation are at more risk for schizophrenia. While the prevalence of schizophrenia is similar around the world, the presentation of the disorder can vary widely, depending on the cultural, religious, and supernatural beliefs native to specific areas. Examples of varying types of presentation of schizophrenia, including culture-bound disorder variants, can give insight into the ways in which people from across the world make sense of this devastating disease, and ways in which they attempt to treat it.
schizophrenia, culture-bound syndromes, Windigo psychosis, Qi Gong psychosis, Amafufunyana, Saora disorder
  • [1]  Allen, M., Naka, K., & Ishizu, H. (2004). Attacked by the gods or by mental illness? Hybridizing mental and spiritual health in Okinawa. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 7(2), 83–107. https://doi.org/10.1080/ 1367467031000101019
  • [2]  American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (4th edition). American Psychiatric Association.
  • [3]  American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition: DSM-5 (5 edition). American Psychiatric Publishing.
  • [4]  Ashforth, A. (2005). Muthi, Medicine and Witchcraft: Regulating “African Science” in Post-Apartheid South Africa? Social Dynamics, 31(2), 211–242.
  • [5]  Berson, R. J. (1983). Capgras’ syndrome. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 140(8), 969–978. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.140.8.969
  • [6]  Bhavsar, V., & Bhugra, D. (2008). Religious delusions: Finding meanings in psychosis. Psychopathology, 41(3), 165–172. https://doi.org/10.1159/000115954
  • [7]  Brekke, J. S., & Barrio, C. (1997). Cross-Ethnic Symptom Differences in Schizophrenia: The Influence of Culture and Minority Status. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 23(2), 305–316. https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/23.2.305
  • [8]  Carré, J. M., McCormick, C. M., & Hariri, A. R. (2011). The social neuroendocrinology of human aggression. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36(7), 935–944. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.02.001
  • [9]  Cary, B. (1996). The Wendigo. In Tales from Jackpine Bob (NED-New edition, pp. 111–117). University of Minnesota Press; JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttv23v.15
  • [10]  ?eting?k, M., Chu, C., & Park, D. (1990). The effect of culture on the sex differences in schizophrenia. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 36(4), 272–279. https://doi.org/10.1177/002076409003600405
  • [11]  Consoli, A. J., Tzaquitzal, M. de los á. H., & González, A. (2013). Mayan cosmovision and integrative counseling: A case study from Guatemala. In S. Poyrazli & C. E. Thompson (Eds.), International case studies in mental health. (2012-13614-008; pp. 141–153). Sage Publications, Inc.
  • [12]  Devinsky, O., & Lai, G. (2008). Spirituality and religion in epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior, 12(4), 636–643. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2007.11.011
  • [13]  Dion, G. L., & Dellario, D. (1988). Symptom subtypes in persons institutionalized with schizophrenia: Comparison of demographics, outcome and functional skills. Rehabilitation Psychology, 33(2), 95–104. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0091684
  • [14]  Edwards, F. S. (1984). Amafufunyana spirit possession: A report on some recent developments. Religion in Southern Africa, 5(2), 3–16.
  • [15]  Elwin, V. (1955). The religion of an Indian tribe (First Edition edition). Oxford University Press.
  • [16]  Ensink, K., & Robertson, B. (1996). Indigenous categories of distress and dysfunction in South African Xhosa children and adolescents as described by indigenous healers. Transcultural Psychiatric Research Review, 33(2), 137–172.
  • [17]  Fearon, P., Kirkbride, J. B., Morgan, C., Dazzan, P., Morgan, K., Lloyd, T., Hutchinson, G., Tarrant, J., Fung, W. L. A., Holloway, J., Mallett, R., Harrison, G., Leff, J., Jones, P. B., & Murray, R. M. (2006). Incidence of schizophrenia and other psychoses in ethnic minority groups: Results from the MRC AESOP Study. Psychological Medicine, 36(11), 1541–1550. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291706008774
  • [18]  Fisch, R. Z. (1992). Psychosis precipitated by marriage: A culture-bound syndrome? British Journal of Medical Psychology, 65(4), 385–391. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8341.1992.tb01719.x
  • [19]  Frantzis, B. K. (1993). Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body. North Atlantic Books.
  • [20]  Furnham, A., & Wong, L. (2007). A cross-cultural comparison of British and Chinese beliefs about the causes, behaviour manifestations and treatment of schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research, 151(1), 123–138. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2006.03.023
  • [21]  Gibson, E. L., Barr, S., & Jeanes, Y. M. (2013). Habitual fat intake predicts memory function in younger women. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 838. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00838
  • [22]  Guadalupe, L. A. O., Miranda, R. T., Soto Prada, K.-J., Borrero, T. C., Cortes Pe?a, O. F., Scarpati, M. P., & Ucrós Campo, M. M. (2017). Incidencia de Mindfulness y Qi Gong sobre el Estado de Salud, Bienestar Psicológico, Satisfacción Vital y Estrés Laboral = Incidence of mindfulness and qi gong on the state of health, psychological well-being, life satisfaction and work stress. Revista Colombiana de Psicología, 26(1), 99–113. https://doi.org/10.15446/rcp.v26n1.54371
  • [23]  Hagen, C. A., & Schokking, I. D. (1990). Hysteria and Conversion in the Ojibway Patient: Cross-Cultural Psychiatry for the Family Physician. Canadian Family Physician, 36, 275–279.
  • [24]  Hallowell, A. I. (1936). Psychic stresses and culture patterns. American Journal of Psychiatry, 92(6), 1291–1310. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.92.6.1291
  • [25]  Hiraoka, A., Kobayashi, H., Shimono, F., & Ohsuga, M. (1997). Effects of Kai-Gou (air-ball handling), a Qi-Gong strategy, on the biofeedback training for enhancement of the electroencephalographic α-activity. Japanese Journal of Biofeedback Research, 24, 74–78.
  • [26]  Hutchinson, G., Bhugra, D., Mallett, R., Burnett, R., Corridan, B., & Leff, J. (1999). Fertility and marital rates in first-onset schizophrenia. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 34(12), 617–621. https://doi.org/ 10.1007/s001270050183
  • [27]  Hwang, W.-C. (2007). Qi-gong psychotic reaction in a Chinese American woman. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 31(4), 547–560. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11013-007-9065-z
  • [28]  Jiang, Z. (1992). The effects of Qi Gong training on postworkout anxiety, mood state, and heart rate recovery of high school swimmers. Dissertation Abstracts International, 52(10), 3557.
  • [29]  Kastrup, M. C., Báez-Ramos, A., Moodley, R., Lubin, D. B., Akram, S., & Justin, M. (2008). Case incident 10: Counseling for transition trauma and health concerns. Case Incidents in Counseling for International Transitions., 151–167.
  • [30]  Krippner, S. (2019). Shamanism and dreams. In R. J. Hoss & R. P. Gongloff (Eds.), Dreams: Understanding biology, psychology, and culture., Vol. 2. (2019-17024-065; pp. 706–710). Greenwood Press/ABC-CLIO.
  • [31]  Kuijpers, H. J. H., van der Heijden, F. M. M. A., Tuinier, S., & Verhoeven, W. M. A. (2007). Meditation-induced psychosis. Psychopathology, 40(6), 461–464. https://doi.org/10.1159/000108125
  • [32]  Kurihara, T., Kato, M., Reverger, R., & Tirta, I. G. R. (2006). Beliefs about causes of schizophrenia among family members: A community-based survey in Bali. Psychiatric Services, 57(12), 1795–1799. https://doi.org/ 10.1176/appi.ps.57.12.1795
  • [33]  Landes, R. (1938). The abnormal among the Ojibwa Indians. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 33(1), 14–33. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0053504
  • [34]  Landy, D. (1985). Pibloktoq (hysteria) and Inuit nutrition: Possible implication of hypervitaminosis A. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 21(2), 173–185. https://doi.org/10.1016/0277-9536(85)90087-5
  • [35]  Le?o, T. S., Sundquist, J., Frank, G., Johansson, L.-M., Johansson, S.-E., & Sundquist, K. (2006). Incidence of schizophrenia or other psychoses in first-and second-generation immigrants: A national cohort study. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 194(1), 27–33. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.nmd.0000195312.81334.81
  • [36]  Lee, Y., & Hu, P.-C. (1993a). The effect of Chinese Qi-gong exercises and therapy on diseases and health. Journal of Indian Psychology, 11(1–2), 9–18.
  • [37]  Lee, Y., & Hu, P.-C. (1993b). The effect of Chinese Qi-gong exercises and therapy on diseases and health. Journal of Indian Psychology, 11(1), 9–18.
  • [38]  Lewis-Fernáandez, R. (1996). Cultural formulation of psychiatric diagnosis: Case No 02 Diagnosis and treatment of nervios and ataques in a female Puerto Rican migrant. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry: An International Journal of Cross-Cultural Health Research, 20(2), 155–163. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00115860
  • [39]  Lim, R. F., & Lin, K.-M. (1996). Cultural formulation of psychiatric diagnosis: Case No. 03: Psychosis following Qi-gong in a Chinese immigrant. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 20(3), 369–378. https://doi.org/10.1007/ BF00113825
  • [40]  Lindberg, J. (1974). American Eye: Wendigo: A Fiction, a Fantasy. The North American Review, 259(4), 8–11. JSTOR.
  • [41]  Luhrmann, T. M. (2007). Social defeat and the culture of chronicity: Or, why schizophrenia does so well over there and so badly here. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry: An International Journal of Cross-Cultural Health Research, 31(2), 135–172. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11013-007-9049-z
  • [42]  Mausbach, B. T., Bucardo, J., McKibbin, C. L., Goldman, S. R., Jeste, D. V., Patterson, T. L., Cardenas, V., & Barrio, C. (2008). Evaluation of a culturally tailored skills intervention for Latinos with persistent psychotic disorders. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 11(1), 61–75. https://doi.org/10.1080/ 15487760701853102
  • [43]  McGee, H. F. (1972). Windigo Psychosis. American Anthropologist, 74(1/2), 244–246. JSTOR.
  • [44]  Mulder, M. B. (2009). Serial monogamy as polygyny or polyandry? Marriage in the Tanzanian Pimbwe. Human Nature, 20(2), 130–150. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12110-009-9060-x
  • [45]  Ng, B. Y. (1999). Qigong-induced mental disorders: A review. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 33(2), 197–206. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1440-1614.1999.00536.x
  • [46]  Niehaus, D. J. H., Oosthuizen, P., Lochner, C., Emsley, R. A., Jordaan, E., Mbanga, N. I., Keyter, N., Laurent, C., Deleuze, J.-F., & Stein, D. J. (2004). A Culture-Bound Syndrome “Amafufunyana” and a Culture-Specific Event “Ukuthwasa”: Differentiated by a Family History of Schizophrenia and other Psychiatric Disorders. Psychopathology, 37(2), 59–63. https://doi.org/10.1159/000077579
  • [47]  ?deg?rd, ?. (1932). Emigration and insanity; a study of mental disease among the norwegian born population of minnesota. Levin & Munksgaard.
  • [48]  Opler, M. K. (1959). Culture and mental health; cross-cultural studies. Macmillan.
  • [49]  Parle, J. (2003). Witchcraft or Madness? The Amandiki of Zululand, 1894-1914. Journal of Southern African Studies, 29(1), 105–132.
  • [50]  Peltzer, K. (1999). Faith Healing for Mental and Social Disorders in the Northern Province (South Africa). Journal of Religion in Africa, 29(3), 387–402.
  • [51]  Ptak, S. E., & Lachmann, M. (2003). On the evolution of polygyny: A theoretical examination of the polygyny threshold model. Behavioral Ecology, 14(2), 201–211. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/14.2.201
  • [52]  Ramamourty, P., Menon, V., & Aparna, M. (2014). Koro presenting as acute and transient psychosis: Implications for classification. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 10, 116–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.ajp.2014.03.008
  • [53]  Rohrl, V. J. (1970). A Nutritional Factor in Windigo Psychosis. American Anthropologist, 72(1), 97–101. JSTOR.
  • [54]  Rossello, J.-J., Gaillard, G., & Neuilly, M.-T. (2013). Une institution en quête de limites. Le mythe de Tom Sawyer: Un objet transitionnel collectif. = An institution seeking limits. The myth of Tom Sawyer: A collective transitional object. Revue de Psychothérapie Psychanalytique de Groupe, 60, 141–152. https://doi.org/10.3917/ rppg.060.0141
  • [55]  Sanderson, I. T. (1963). Some preliminary notes on traditions of submen in arctic and subarctic North America. Genus, 19(1/4), 145–162. JSTOR.
  • [56]  Saravanan, B., Jacob, K. S., Johnson, S., Prince, M., Bhugra, D., & David, A. S. (2007a). Assessing insight in schizophrenia: East meets West. British Journal of Psychiatry, 190(3), 243–247. https://doi.org/10.1192/ bjp.bp.106.029363
  • [57]  Saravanan, B., Jacob, K. S., Johnson, S., Prince, M., Bhugra, D., & David, A. S. (2007b). Belief models in first episode schizophrenia in South India. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology: The International Journal for Research in Social and Genetic Epidemiology and Mental Health Services, 42(6), 446–451. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-007-0186-z
  • [58]  Sells, J. (2000). Unante (2nd edition). W.M. Hawley.
  • [59]  Simpson, M. A. (1995). Gullible’s travels, or the importance of being multiple. Dissociative Identity Disorder: Theoretical and Treatment Controversies., 87–134.
  • [60]  Spanos, N. P., & Gottlieb, J. (1979). Demonic Possession, Mesmerism, and Hysteria: A Social Psychological Perspective on Their Historical Interrelations. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 88(5), 527–546.
  • [61]  Suwanlert, S. (1976). Neurotic and psychotic states attributed to Thai “phii pob” spirit possession. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 10(1-A), 119–123.
  • [62]  Tropp, J. (2003). The Python and the Crying Tree: Interpreting Tales of Environmental and Colonial Power in the Transkei. The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 36(3), 511–532.
  • [63]  Udina, M., Foulon, H., Valdés, M., Bhattacharyya, S., & Martín-Santos, R. (2013). Dhat syndrome: A systematic review. Psychosomatics: Journal of Consultation and Liaison Psychiatry, 54(3), 212–218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psym.2012.09.003
  • [64]  Verlingue, M. (1986). Haute-Volta et “Psychose Abidjan-Niger” = Upper-Volta and “Abidjan-Niger” psychosis. Psychologie Medicale, 18(1), 93–96.
  • [65]  Vitebsky, P. (1993). Dialogues with the Dead: The Discussion of Mortality among the Sora of Eastern India. Cambridge University Press.
  • [66]  Vitebsky, P. (2017). Living without the Dead: Loss and Redemption in a Jungle Cosmos (1 edition). University of Chicago Press.
  • [67]  Volavka, J., Laska, E., Baker, S., Meisner, M., Czobor, P., & Krivelevich, I. (1997). History of violent behaviour and schizophrenia in different cultures: Analyses based on the WHO study on Determinants of Outcome of Severe Mental Disorders. British Journal of Psychiatry, 171(1), 9–14. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.171.1.9
  • [68]  Volkan, K. (2020). Schizophrenia: Epidemiology, Causes, Neurobiology, Pathophysiology, and Treatment. Journal of Health and Medical Sciences, 3(4), 487–521. https://doi.org/10.31014/aior.1994.03.04.143
  • [69]  Weisman, A. G., & López, S. R. (1997). An attributional analysis of emotional reactions to schizophrenia in Mexican and Anglo American cultures. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 27(3), 223–244. https://doi.org/ 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1997.tb00630.x
  • [70]  White, T., Cullen, K., Rohrer, L. M., Karatekin, C., Luciana, M., Schmidt, M., Hongwanishkul, D., Kumra, S., Schulz, S. C., & Lim, K. O. (2008). Limbic structures and networks in children and adolescents with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 34(1), 18–29. https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbm110
Copyright © 2020 Isaac Scientific Publishing Co. All rights reserved.