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New methods in cross-cultural psychiatry: psychiatric illness in Taiwan and the United States
Am J Psychiatry 1991;148:1697-1704.
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Cross-cultural psychiatric research has suffered from many methodological shortcomings. To answer some of these shortcomings, the present study compared rates of psychiatric disorders in Taiwan and the United States by combining data from both countries into a single data set. METHOD: Results from large, community-based surveys in the United States and Taiwan, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Epidemiologic Catchment Area survey and the Taiwan Psychiatric Epidemiological Project, were combined into a single data set. This integration of the data sets was possible because both surveys used the NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule to ascertain cases. The integrated data sets were then analyzed with identical algorithms to generate lifetime prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders according to DSM-III criteria for both the United States and Taiwan. RESULTS: Lifetime prevalence rates of psychiatric illness in Taiwan were generally lower than U.S. rates. The rates of any disorder were 21.56% in Taiwan and 35.55% in the United States (Z = 22.34, p less than 10(-109]. The rates of most specific disorders were lower in Taiwan, and none of the rates was higher in Taiwan. CONCLUSIONS: While a culturally determined response bias may have lowered the rates in Taiwan somewhat, the results appear to be valid. Implications for the future use of structured diagnostic interviews in cross-cultural research are discussed.

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