Get Alert
Please Wait... Processing your request... Please Wait.
You must sign in to sign-up for alerts.

Please confirm that your email address is correct, so you can successfully receive this alert.

Article   |    
Mental Illness Complicated by the Santeria Belief in Spirit Possession
Leonardo Alonso; William D. Jeffrey
Psychiatric Services 1988; doi:
View Author and Article Information

St. Albans Veterans Administration Extended Care Center-Veterans Administration Medical Center in Brooklyn

Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn

American Psychiatric Association

text A A A
PDF of the full text article.

Santeria, a religious system that blends African and Catholic beliefs, is practiced by many Cuban Americans. One aspect of this system is the belief in spirit possession. Basic santeria beliefs and rituals, including the fiesta santera (a gathering at which some participants may become possessed), are briefly described, and four cases in which the patients' belief in possession played a role in their mental illness are presented. The belief in possession can complicate the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, but it should not be considered a culture-bound syndrome. Rather, it may be a nonspecific symptom of a variety of mental illnesses and should be evaluated in the context of the patient's overall belief system and ability to carry out usual activities.

Abstract Teaser
Figures in this Article

Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In to Access Full Content
Sign in via Athens (What is this?)
Athens is a service for single sign-on which enables access to all of an institution's subscriptions on- or off-site.
Not a subscriber?

Subscribe Now/Learn More

PsychiatryOnline subscription options offer access to the DSM-5 library, books, journals, CME, and patient resources. This all-in-one virtual library provides psychiatrists and mental health professionals with key resources for diagnosis, treatment, research, and professional development.

Need more help? PsychiatryOnline Customer Service may be reached by emailing PsychiatryOnline@psych.org or by calling 800-368-5777 (in the U.S.) or 703-907-7322 (outside the U.S.).




CME Activity

There is currently no quiz available for this resource. Please click here to go to the CME page to find another.
Submit a Comments
Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discertion of APA editorial staff.

* = Required Field
(if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
Example: John Doe

Related Content
Dulcan's Textbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry > Chapter 34.  >
Psychiatric News
PubMed Articles