Koro, a culture-related psychiatric disorder characterized by panic due
to fear of genital retraction, occurred as the rare phenomenon of koro
epidemics in a remote region of Guangdong, China, in 1984-1985 and 1987.
The sociocultural and historical backgrounds of the area are described. The
life pattern and attitudes toward supernatural beings and the commonly
shared folk belief of evil-induced genital retraction were considered
grounds for the panic, while the community's anxious reaction and
hysterical atmosphere facilitated the intensification and recurrence of the
episodes. Geographic seclusion associated with localism in folk beliefs and
practices may have kept the epidemics confined to the region.