Cultural psychiatry: research strategies and future directions.

Advances in psychosomatic medicine

PubMedID: 23816867

Kirmayer LJ, Ban L. Cultural psychiatry: research strategies and future directions. Adv Psychosom Med. 2013;3397-114.
This chapter reviews some key aspects of current research in cultural psychiatry and explores future prospects. The first section discusses the multiple meanings of culture in the contemporary world and their relevance for understanding mental health and illness. The next section considers methodological strategies for unpacking the concept of culture and studying the impact of cultural variables, processes and contexts. Multiple methods are needed to address the many different components or dimensions of cultural identity and experience that constitute local worlds, ways of life or systems of knowledge. Quantitative and observational methods of clinical epidemiology and experimental science as well as qualitative ethnographic methods are needed to capture crucial aspects of culture as systems of meaning and practice. Emerging issues in cultural psychiatric research include: cultural variations in illness experience and expression; the situated nature of cognition and emotion; cultural configurations of self and personhood; concepts of mental disorder and mental health literacy; and the prospect of ecosocial models of health and culturally based interventions. The conclusion considers the implications of the emerging perspectives from cultural neuroscience for psychiatric theory and practice.