Intersections between culture and health: how the concepts of culture shape the perception of mental disorders


  • Fabrício Brito Silva
  • Thalita Rachel Cardoso Cruz Silva
  • Ricardo Brito Silva
  • Ektor Kayã Magalhães de Melo
  • Paula Renata Rodrigues Ortega Mello
  • Kamila Santos de Oliveira Sousa
  • Maycon Henrique Franzoi de Melo
  • Pollianna Galvão Soares
  • Daniel Carvalho de Matos



Autism, public policies, social psychology


The broadening use of the term "culture" and its frequent lack of adequacy generate ambiguity, challenging clarity and academic utility. This article examines the changes in definitions of culture in the social sciences and their impact on mental health paradigms. The narrative review encompasses research in databases such as LILACS, MEDLINE, SCIELO, IBECS, Scopus, Science Direct, and Google Scholar, using descriptors like "Cultural Concepts," "Mental Disorders," and "Perception of Illness." The evolution of the concept of culture is addressed from Edward Burnett Tylor to Clifford Geertz's interpretative perspective. Tylor associated culture with human cognitive development, while Franz Boas emphasized its diversity and cultural relativity. The contributions of functionalist and structuralist theories in anthropology are discussed, highlighting Geertz's view of culture as a system of meanings interpreted by individuals. The article concludes by emphasizing the importance of integrating cultural understanding into the diagnosis and treatment of mental health, challenging traditional biomedical paradigms and advocating for a more inclusive and nuanced approach that recognizes cultural influences on mental health experiences.


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How to Cite

Silva, F. B., Silva, T. R. C. C., Silva, R. B., Melo, E. K. M. de, Mello, P. R. R. O., Sousa, K. S. de O., Melo, M. H. F. de, Soares, P. G., & Matos, D. C. de. (2024). Intersections between culture and health: how the concepts of culture shape the perception of mental disorders. CONTRIBUCIONES A LAS CIENCIAS SOCIALES, 17(6), e7595.