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Cultural Idioms of Distress

Cultural Idioms of Distress

One prevailing viewpoint, the cultural idioms of distress perspective, posited by Arthur Kleinman, Byron Good, Janis Jenkins  and other medical anthropologists, suggests that mental ill ness cannot be separated from its sociocultural context. As stated by Draguns, a particular symptom only becomes an indicator of distress in its ‘‘transaction with the environment.’’ From this standpoint, what matters is not whether specific symptoms exist across cultures, but whether the meaning and subjective experience of and the social response to these symptoms are similar across cultures.

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