Cross-cultural differences in the perception and understanding of obsessive-compulsive disorder in East Asian and Western cultures

Caroline Yang, Gerald Nestadt, Jack Samuels, Leonard A. Doerfler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigated cultural differences in beliefs about the etiology and management of OCD. Participants were 428 individuals from 13 countries in North America, Western Europe and South Asia who completed a questionnaire about a hypothetical individual who experienced OCD. Principal components analysis of the questionnaire items identified four factors; comparison of the four subscales revealed significant cross-cultural differences in how participants viewed the individual with OCD and ideas about how to help someone with the disorder. Compared to individuals in the USA and Western Europe, participants in East Asia had a more negative view of the person with OCD, were more likely to blame the person, to consider the obsessions and compulsions to be part of the individual’s personality and to recommend that the person not seek help from others. Participants from East Asian countries also were more likely to recommend alternative therapies like acupuncture and taking herbal medicines. Participants from Western countries had a more favourable view of psychosocial influences and psychosocial interventions for these problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Culture and Mental Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - May 15 2018

Keywords

  • beliefs about OCD
  • cross cultural
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • OCD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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