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Cultural Bound syndromes

1. What are cultural bound syndromes and give examples?

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1. What are cultural bound syndromes and give examples?

Cultural bound syndromes are conditions that are unique to specific cultures, perpetrated by cultural beliefs and attitudes (e.g., high focus on being thIn leads to anorexia, etc.).

For example, in Western medicine today there is a tendency to define mental illness as being rooted only in biology. However, this approach often ignores the culture's role in shaping health. Many examples exist and seen below, where different cultural/social environments create different mental health problems. In the past, psychology once referred to these conditions as being limited to particular environments and referred to as: "exotic psychotic syndromes." However, it soon became clear that Western culture developed its own group of unique cultural syndromes, such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa. This lead to a change in name for these groups of syndromes, now referred to as "culture-bound syndromes." However, these cultural dimensions change over time based on the focus of that culture (e.g., being thin, being youthful, being fertile, etc.) are emphasized that result in these syndromes. For example, place so much as to a prominent cultural emphasis. Cultures that place high importance on fertility, for example, may fuel fears of semen loss. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association has included this in the fourth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) by adding an appendix on culture-bound syndromes. (

1. Koro

Cultural Origins: China, Malaysia, Indonesia

A man who suffers from koro, or genital retraction syndrome, is gripped by the fear that his penis is shrinking and gradually being absorbed by his body. (Women suffer from koro, too--afraid for their nipples or vulva--but this is much rarer.) A typical case of koro goes like this: A man goes to urinate and notices that his penis ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the meaning of cultural bound syndromes and gives four detailed examples.