Project Details


The proposed research project addresses two longstanding problems in
cross-cultural psychiatric research. In order to interpret standard
epidemiological findings in cross-cultural studies, the researcher needs to
know the local culture or significant errors will be made in interpreting
responses to diagnostic interviews. Research instruments require adaptation
to the local culture to measure local categories of mental illness to
correlate them with standard diagnostic categories. Without these
modifications in cross-cultural psychiatric studies, inaccurate diagnoses
will be made and inappropriate assessments of service needs for the
population will result. This research project will examine the social and psychological correlates
of ataques de nervios ("attacks of nerves"), a culturally defined syndrome
of distress common among Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics. Through this
study, a new research interview will be developed to measure this syndrome
in future epidemiological studies of Hispanic populations. This study is
designed to be a model for developing research in cross-cultural
psychiatric studies. The specific aims of the proposed study are: 1) To analyze the relationship
between reports of ataques de nervios in the Puerto Rican Adult Psychiatric
Epidemiology Project - Disaster Study and a series of social,
psychological, and health system variables in the NIMH Diagnostic Interview
Schedule/Disaster Version; 2) To develop a detailed description of ataques
de nervios, the situations that provoke them, and the types of help-seeking
patterns people employ through ethnographic interviews with persons who
reported an ataque de nervios in the DIS/DS; and 3) To develop a culturally
valid interview to measure ataques de nervios to be used along with the DIS
in future epidemiological studies with Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics.
Effective start/end date1/1/907/31/95


  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health


  • Medicine(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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