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PSYCHIATRIC DISORDER IN WEST AFRICA
A. H. LEIGHTON; T. A. LAMBO; C. C. HUGHES; D. C. LEIGHTON; J. M. MURPHY; D. B. MACKLIN
Am J Psychiatry 1963;120:521-527.
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The Cornell Program in Social Psychiatry, Dept. of Psychiatry, New York Hospital (Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic) and Cornell University Medical College; and Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Cornell University.

Medical Superintendent, Aro Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Western Region, Nigeria.

Director, African Studies Center, Michigan State University.

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Abstract

We would like to suggest that these findings have bearing on work in community development of all kinds, and especially for work in those areas of the world where profound changes are taking place with thundering rapidity. It seems that it is possible to have change without deterioration of mental health provided disintegration of the social system is avoided. Once the sociocultural system becomes fragmented, people lose their bearings, symptoms of anxiety, depression, apathy and non-rational hostility set in, the deleterious effects of disintegration are compounded and downward spirals are set in motion in which social pathology and psychopathology reinforce each other.It further seems that men and women are affected differently, both with respect to frequency and with respect to symptom types. Table 3 suggests that where disintegration is present, culture change may have a positive effect on mental health. There is hope that attention to the functional requirements of both the social system and personality may put in our hands the power to reverse such spirals, or prevent their occurrence.

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