The Multiple Meanings of Ataques de Nervios in the Latino Community

Peter Guarnaccia, Victor DeLaCancela, Emilio Carrillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Ataques de nervios (“attacks of nerves”) have been discussed in the psychiatric and anthropological literature for over thirty years. The early psychiatric articles focused on the pathology expressed by the ataque. More recent articles by anthropologists and Latino mental health professionals have reconceptualized the ataque through understanding its cultural meaning and the social factors which provoke an ataque de nervios. This article is a contribution to this reinterpretation of the ataque de nervios among Latinos. Through a series of case studies, we argue that the ataque is an expression of anger and grief resulting from the disruption of family systems, the process of migration, and concerns about family members in peoples’ countries of origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-62
Number of pages16
JournalMedical Anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology

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