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November 2022

Med Anthropol. 1993 Apr; 15(2): 171-88.

The interaction of popular and clinical diagnostic labeling: the case of embrujado.

Koss-Chioino JD, Canive JM.

Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe 85287-2402.

This paper explores the effect of a popular diagnosis of distress, "bewitchment," on diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of psychiatric illness in a small group of Hispanic patients in New Mexico. Two major approaches to such "culture-bound" illnesses in clinical settings are critiqued and synthesized in suggesting a practical way to understand how both folk and psychiatric explanations can affect experience with, and of psychiatric patients who present with their own culturally patterned diagnoses. Further study suggests that clinically focused ethnography can address the issue of change or persistence in both lay and clinical explanations of illness as they interact in a clinical setting.

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