Transcultural Psychiatry: Comparison of Eastern and Western Culture and their influence on mental health and its treatment
Introduction In a globalizing world the need for humans to understand one another is fundamental. Transcultural Psychiatry aims to bridge the differences due to culture, norms and values, especially in a controversial topic such as the paranormal between doctors and patients. Objectives To study the beliefs of Eastern and Western populations on the subject of religion, the paranormal and its relation to mental health. Methods The study was conducted targeting citizens of Eastern and Western
... ern and Western countries (target sample size 200). A survey and 2 case studies were distributed, aimed to determine respondents level of belief in cultural superstitions and practices, views on mental disorders and opinions on treatment. A chi-square statistical test (significance set at 0.05) was performed to test validity. Results Results are tabulated in Table 1. In the case studies, P-value =4.68x10 -6 proves a strong relationship between East/West populations and their viewpoints on mental illness vs. possession. There is a strong relationship (p=3.37x10 -5) between respondents beliefs in spiritual healing and its effectiveness in treating mental illness. Table 1 East West Total respondents (226) 58% 42% Identified as religious 74% 26% Strong belief in paranormal 85% 15% Effectiveness of spiritual healing 55% 45% Preferred methods of treatment Mental health professionals 54% 46% Religious healer/psychic 90% 10% Conclusions The study revealed that Eastern populations are far more superstitious and religious than their Western conterparts, and also have higher belief in the effectiveness of spiritual healing to treat mental disorders. This difference demonstrates the importance of integrating culture into diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses, and further explore methods for more inclusive treatment plans.