This article focuses on a discussion of socio-cultural factors contributing to somatisation. Somatisation is a universal phenomenon. People with somatisation often express their psychological distress in a form of bodily complaints, which emphasis the mind-body connection. The experience and expressions of psychological distress varies across different ethnic and cultural groups. A review of cross-national epidemiological research provides cultural relevance in the shaping of somatic symptoms. The effect of culture on somatisation is based on a process of communication and negotiation with distinctive social and cultural requirements and conditions. In Chinese culture, psychological distress causes a higher level stress of personal and family's stigmatization and negative effects of discrimination. Chinese are less likely to express and communicate emotionally their distress or problems. This explains why the presentation of emotional distress somatically is more common in China than in Western countries. The identification of somatisation needs to be expanded to understand the personal and social meanings behind culture, different cultural explanations will contribute to rethinking of the phenomenon of somatisation.
Ming Meng, Deakin University, Australia
This paper is part of the ACP2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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