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The Use of Self-Rating Scales in Cross-Cultural Psychiatry
J. David Kinzie; Spero M. Manson
Psychiatric Services 1987; doi:
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Department of psychiatry at the Oregon Health Sciences University, L460, 3181 Southwest Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, Oregon 97201

National Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denyen

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The authors review the use of seven psychiatric self-rating scales in cross-cultural research and practice and discuss some of the issues that limit their usefulness in cross-cultural settings. It is unclear whether any one scale can accurately assess the presence of psychiatric illness in different cultures because different cultures have specific ways of experiencing and reporting psychiatric disturbances. This limitation may be overcome through the use of culture-specific rating scales, such as the Vietnamese Depression Scale (VDS), whose develop- ment is described here. The authors' work on the VDS suggests that certain biological symptoms of depression may be universal but that psychological symptoms tend to be culturally rooted. The paper includes guidelines for using self-rating scales in cross-cultural psychiatry.

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