In the Journals

September In the Journals … (2/2)

Building upon Anna’s post, here is some more fall reading you might want to check out.

First up is the special issue of Contemporary South Asia on South Asian Tissue Economies.
In the introduction, Jacob Copeman surveys the literature on South Asian tissue economies and discovers an “array of South Asian tissue economies – sacrificial economies of substance structured by existent hierarchies and complexities of social position – that block, spur, disrupt and are likewise affected by the larger structures they underpin”. The special issue geographically focusses on India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, with articles on India in the majority. Topics span from the use of fake blood in Bangladeshi cinema, corporeal activism including blood, hearts and ketones following the Bhopal Gast Disaster of 1984, directed-replacement blood donation in maternal health emergency situations in a patriarchal system in Pakistan, perception of genetics research as a common good, and cadaver organ sale in India.

In the September issue of American Anthropologist,  of interest for medical anthropologists might be Alan H. Goodman’s essay on connecting culture and biology;  and Leslie Dwyer reviews Sharyn Graham Davies’ book “Gender Diversity in Indonesia: Sexuality, Islam and Quer Selves” (Routledge 2010).

The International Journal of Social Psychiatry offers several interesting articles in September. I have chosen the following abstracts this month:

Kang Chuan Yuan, Zhao Ruo Yao, Shi Zhen Yu, Zhao Xu Dong, Yang Jian Zhong, Jason Glen Edwards, and Glen David Edwards:
Prevalence and predictors of stress disorders following two earthquakes
Background: Studies about stress disorders following a disaster have mainly been based on single-event trauma with little emphasis on multiple traumas.
Aims: This study investigated the prevalence and predictors of stress disorders following two earthquakes in China.
Methods: Subjects were randomly sampled from 11 villages in rural China. A total of 624 subjects were administered with the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), Symptom Checklist -90-R (SCL-90-R), Coping Style Scale and Social Support Rating Scale. This was followed by a structural clinical interview using the Chinese translation of the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)-IV-TR axis 1 disorders (SCID-I-P) for acute stress disorder (ASD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Results: The prevalence of ASD and PTSD was 15% and 29%, respectively. Regression analysis indicated that high intensity of trauma exposure, lower educational level, subjective feeling of economic status and psychological stress after the first earthquake significantly predicted the outcome of PTSD.
Conclusions: The study suggested that the prevalence of stress disorders in two earthquakes were higher than that experienced in a single disaster. The intensity of trauma exposure, low educational level, bad subjective feeling of economic status, and psychological stress after the first earthquake could be used to identify survivors at risk of developing PTSD in two earthquakes.

Guy Shefer, Diana Rose, Laura Nellums, Graham Thornicroft, Claire Henderson, and Sara Evans-Lacko
‘Our community is the worst’: The influence of cultural beliefs on stigma, relationships with family and help-seeking in three ethnic communities in London
Background: Existing knowledge about the cultural beliefs of black and minority ethnic (BME) communities in the UK regarding stigma and mental illness is limited.
Material: Data were collected in 10 focus groups, five with service users and five with laypersons, from BME communities in London.
Discussion: Thematic analysis identified that cultural beliefs regarding mental illness reflect four different voices present within the BME communities.
Conclusion: The study revealed that cultural beliefs influencing both relationships with family and, consequently, help-seeking for individuals with mental illness must be considered in the development of anti-stigma interventions and when engaging communities around mental health.

Dinh Thai Son, Junko Yasuoka, Krishna C. Poudel, Keiko Otsuka, and Masamine Jimba
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG): Association between its addiction, self-control and mental disorders among young people in Vietnam
Aims: To explore the association between MMORPG addiction and mental health status, and between self-control ability and mental health status among young male MMORPG players in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 10 computer game rooms were randomly selected out of 77 in five communes in Hanoi. From these game rooms, 350 MMORPG players were purposively recruited as a study group, of whom 344 completed the questionnaire. In the same five communes, 344 non-players were selected as a control group. An online game addiction scale, a self-control scale and the Vietnamese SRQ-20 were used to measure the degree of MMORPG addiction, self-control ability and level of mental disorders.
Results: MMORPG players had significantly higher mental disorders scale scores than non-players (p < .001). The strongest positive correlation was detected between MMORPG addiction scale scores and mental disorders scale scores (r = 0.730, p < .001). Self-control scale scores were negatively associated with mental disorders scale scores (r = -0.345, p < .001). The average amount of money spent on games per month, MMORPG addiction scale score and self-control scale score were considered the best predictors of a higher mental disorders scale score.
Conclusion: Young, male MMORPG players with higher addiction scores were more likely to have higher mental disorders scale scores, and such mental status was negatively associated with the level of self-control in Hanoi, Vietnam. Closer attention should be paid to prevent mental disorders among MMORPG players.

Ingrid Vargas-Huicochea and Shoshana Berenzon-Gorn
From self-care to hospitalization: Bipolar patients’ health care practices in Mexico
Background: New research is continually improving the comprehension of bipolar disorder (BD). However, many challenges remain to be addressed, such as understanding the health care practices (HCPs) chosen by bipolar patients and the determinants of seeking treatment.
Material: Using a qualitative approach, we studied the HCPs of six patients with BD through focused interviews.
Discussion: Even patients who report using primarily allopathic care usually test out and combine different HCPs.
Conclusion: Pathways to care in BD are composed of a combination of HCPs because patients need to develop a stock of potential treatment alternatives to deal with the suffering involved in living with BD.


O Abayomi, AO Adelufosi, and A Olajide
Changing attitude to mental illness among community mental health volunteers in south-western Nigeria
Background: Community-based mental health services may be impaired by stigmatization and social distance towards persons with mental illness. Little is known about the impact of education on the attitude of volunteers for mental health programmes. This study aimed to examine the effect of an educational programme on the attitude of community volunteers towards mental illness.
Methods: Thirty-one volunteers for a community mental health programme completed the Familiarity with Mental Illness Questionnaire and a modified version of the Bogardus Social Distance Scale (Bogardus, 1925) before and after an educational programme.
Results: At the end of the educational session, perceived dangerousness was significantly reduced and attitude (social distance) towards persons with mental illness showed significant improvement.
Conclusion: Attitudes of community volunteers towards persons with mental illness improve with educational programmes. This may lead to improved treatment and care of individuals who are mentally ill.

Two articles from the September issue of Science, Technology and Human Values caught my eye: Beth Kewell discusses uncertainties of stem cell science, and Adrian Mackenzie, Claire Waterton, Rebecca Ellis, Emma K. Frow, Ruth McNally, Lawrence Busch, and Brian Wynne write about three contemporary postgenomic standards: the Barcoding of Life Initiative, the BioBricks Assembly Standard, and the Proteomics Standards Initiative. Additionally, recent articles in this journal include Jeannette Pols’ “Knowing Patients: Turning Patient Knowledge into Science”.

Currently in Sociology of Health & Illness:

An article on chronic illness narratives and the role of spouses in the co-creation of stroke survivors’ narration.

Tim Rhodes and colleagues write about “Negotiating access to medical treatment and the making of patient citizenship: the case of hepatitis C treatment”.

Asha Persson discusses how advances in HIV treatment and subsequent sexual “non-infectionality” of HIV-patients has led to a paradigm shift of biomedicalization, with a focus on embodied experiences of heterosexual HIV-patients in Australia.

And Jenny and Celia Kitzinger report on their interview study on “The ‘window of opportunity’ for death after severe brain injury: family experiences”.

Finally, among new articles published first online in Transcultural Psychiatry, we have Jacques Arpin’s account of applying theater anthropology in cultural psychiatry, Cornelis J. Laban and Rob van Dijk present hot topics in Dutch transcultural psychiatric research of the last decade (hint: the top three were a) revalence of psychiatric disorders and their relation to migration issues; b) mental health and social position of refugees and asylum seekers, and c) patterns of health-seeking behaviour). Amy Bombay, Kim Matheson, and Hymie Anisman bring us “The intergenerational effects of Indian Residential Schools: Implications for the concept of historical trauma”, and Lisa Wexler and her colleagues research cultural resilience in a Native Alaskan community.


By Melanie Boeckmann

aiming for a PhD in Public Health, currently working in health policy and research.

One reply on “September In the Journals … (2/2)”

There has always been a deatbe surrounding the validity of a Borderline Personality Disorder or Multiple Personality Disorder. Also, many psychiatrists are prescribing kids as young as 5 meds for Bipolar, depression, etc. which has attracted considerable controversey. I’d say that’s the most hotly-contested and widespread issue out there right now. Was this answer helpful?

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