Personality Disorders in a Cross-Cultural Perspective: Impact of Culture and Migration on Diagnosis and Etiological Aspects

Calliess, Iris T.; Sieberer, Marcel; Machleidt, Wielant; Ziegenbein, Marc
February 2008
Current Psychiatry Reviews;2008, Vol. 4 Issue 1, p39
Academic Journal
The diagnosis of personality disorders is highly dependent on how a society views certain behavior. Self concept, adaptation and social context are important aspects of the cultural dimensions of personality disorders. However, the relevance and implications of the influence of sociocultural factors are seen differently. Accordingly, there are very distinct conceptional, nosological and diagnostic approaches for classifying personality dispositions and personality disorders in a cross-cultural perspective. The present paper describes the social and cultural context of migration from an European perspective. A review of the literature on mental health risk in immigrants is given, and special focus is placed on the impact of culture on the development of personality in general and on the emergence and manifestation versus prevention of personality disorders in specific. Due to globalization and migration processes clinicians and therapists are increasingly called upon to assess the level of personality functioning, not only in patients from different ethnic backgrounds, but also in traumatized refugees and migrants. Multiple social and cultural factors have an influence on each level of the diagnostic and therapeutic process. In addition to thorough background knowledge concerning trauma, migration and culture specific issues, cultural sensitivity and cultural competence are requisite for clinicians and therapists.


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