Discuss cultural and ethical considerations in diagnosis
influence psychiatric diagnosis in several ways.
cultural groups have different attitudes to psychological disorders that might
influence the reporting of symptoms and diagnosis (e.g. due to stigmatization).
2. Cultural bias
in diagnosis (i.e. the clinician does not observe certain symptoms because he or
she is not familiar with the expression of distress in a particular culture).
syndromes (disorders that are specific to a particular culture) could be
difficult to recognize for clinicians. This could prevent people from being
Emic or etic in diagnosis?
universalist approach (etic) to diagnosis emphasizes the cross-cultural
equivalence of diagnostic concepts and underlying processes. Symptoms and
disorders are manifestations of universal underlying processes.
relativist approach (emic) to diagnosis emphasizes a fundamental role of
culture in psychopathology. Culture shapes symptoms and how people
experience distress as well as their beliefs about causes and consequences
of such problems.
could use universal clinical interviews and a classification system like the
DSM-IV (i.e. taking an etic approach); or they could use culturally specific
instruments that are developed to be used in a specific culture (i.e. taking
an emic approach). In reality, most clinicians use the universal
(2001) argues that even though DSM-IV includes suggestions for a cultural
interpretation of disorders, it still represents Western concepts of illness
and therefore it may not be easily applied to other cultures.
argues that diagnostic systems are necessary for comparisons between
different cultures, and therefore it is necessary to define concepts of
depression in accord with psychiatric and indigenous belief systems.