Thursday, March 12, 2015

Culture in DSM-5

What's happened with culturally-bound symptoms in DSM-5? For one thing, they're now called "cultural concepts of distress." And they've been, to some extent, integrated into the main body of the DSM. Here's how the APA explains it in a pdf-only bulletin:
Rather than a simple list of culture-bound syndromes, DSM-5 updates criteria to reflect cross-cultural variations in presentations, gives more detailed and structured information about cultural concepts of distress, and includes a clinical interview tool to facilitate comprehensive, person-centered assessments...
Throughout the DSM-5 development process, the Work Groups made a concerted effort to modify culturally determined criteria so they would be more equivalent across different cultures. In Section II, specific diagnostic criteria were changed to better apply across diverse cultures. For example, the criteria for social anxiety disorder now include the fear of "offending others" to reflect the Japanese concept in which avoiding harm to others is emphasized rather than harm to oneself.
(Here's the complete bulletin, cached by Google.) So can you still expect to see culture-bound cultural concepts on the exam? Yes. They're still relevant as ever (and useful to exam writers faced with coming up with Effects of Diversity items). Here's the APAs DSM-5 list:
  • Ataque de nervios
  • Dhat syndrome
  • Khyâl cap
  • Kufungisisa
  • Maladi moun
  • Nervios
  • Shenjing shuairuo
  • Susto
  • Taijin kyofusho
Knowing the ins and outs of each is probably not necessary. Just being able to ID them as relevant culturally-specific diagnostic information should get you close to the correct answers if not all the way through the exam. If you want to get more familiar with them, Wikipedia awaits (with the old DSM-IV list). Enjoy.

(Note: If you're taking the ASWB exam before July, '15, ignore the DSM-5 parts of this post. The exam will still feature DSM-IV-TR questions till mid-summer.)

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