This brilliant and engrossing work of social synthesis, replete with profound insights, opens up new vistas on the relationship between culture and mental health. The author uses his own extensive findings and his abundant knowledge of the cross-cultural studies in psychiatry, anthropology, and sociology to demonstrate that throughout history mental disorders have been closely linked with the prevailing culture and have thus changed in kind and extent.
Opler's classic Culture, Psychiatry, and Human Values has here been revised and expanded to nearly twice the size of the original work. The new materials present in greater depth the author's views on the connection between culture and mental health and broaden the perspectives of theory and research on cultural change and development, the migration of acculturating populations, and the resulting shifts in diagnostic and therapeutic problems brought about by the stresses of the modern world.
By enriching a survey of cultural evolution with fertile cross-cultural comparisons and a discussion of the interaction between culture and personality, Opler adds to our knowledge of the etiology and treatment of mental illnesses in primitive societies as well as among more advanced ethnic groups and subcultures in today's metropolis. Of particular significance at a time when social and community psychiatry has assumed a major role all over the world, this pioneering work is must reading not only for students of culture and personality, psychiatrists, social scientists, and workers in community health programs, but also for the educated reader concerned about these critical problems of our day.