Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

Mental Health, Religion & Culture

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

Mental Health, Religion & Culture

Article excerpt

Whaley, A. L., & Hall, B. N. (2009).

Effects of cultural themes in psychotic symptoms on the diagnosis of schizophrenia in African Americans

Vol. 12, 457-471

Previous research has found that African Americans tend to be overdiagnosed with schizophrenia in hospital settings. Whaley and Hall argued that this trend is due to the confusion of cultural paranoia with clinical paranoia. They defined cultural paranoia as "a sense of apprehension, suspiciousness, or distrust in interracial situations because of historical and contemporary experiences of racism and oppression" (p. 459).

Whaley and Hall sought to extend the research in this area by assessing the cultural and religious themes in the hallucinations/delusions of African-American psychiatric patients. They utilized psychiatric patients who identified as African-American and were not currently in a severely psychotic episode. The final sample in this study was 73% male and had a mean age of 39.23 (SD = 9.75). Sixty-six percent of the sample had comorbid substance abuse diagnoses.

The participants were administered a mental status exam, the Cultural Mistrust Inventory, the scales of False Beliefs and Perceptions, and the Need for Approval scale. They were also interviewed by master's level psychologists using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID). In addition to pulling the diagnosis from each patient's chart, each participant was diagnosed based on the SCID data and by a psychologist or psychiatrist of African descent who was considered a cultural expert. …

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