Conceptual and methodological challenges in idioms of distress research: Common questions and a step-by-step guide

Lesley Jo Weaver, Karl Krupp, Purnima Madhivanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research premised on the construct of idioms of distress has proliferated in the last 40 years. The aim of this work is to foreground the experiential and socially adaptive functions of cultural expressions of distress around the world. Researchers who work in this field often begin from very different starting points in terms of their prior knowledge of the research context, their interest in theoretical or applied implications of their work, and the target areas of distress that they study. While this multiplicity of approaches ensures that the literature captures diverse manifestations of suffering, it also creates confusion for those who are new to the field and who may not know where to begin. This article seeks to resolve some of that confusion by identifying common conceptual challenges across the idioms of distress literature, and then providing a detailed step-by-step methodological example of an idioms of distress study in India that could be adapted for similar work in other contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-412
Number of pages14
JournalTranscultural Psychiatry
Volume59
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • India
  • cultural concepts of distress
  • cultural syndromes
  • idioms of distress
  • methods
  • psychological anthropology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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