Migration, distress and cultural identity


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Abstract

When people migrate from one nation or culture to another they carry their knowledge and expressions of distress with them. On settling down in the new culture, their cultural identity is likely to change and that encourages a degree of belonging; they also attempt to settle down by either assimilation or biculturalism. In this paper, various hypotheses explaining the act of migration and its relationship with mental distress are described. A new hypothesis is proposed suggesting that when sociocentric individuals from sociocentric cultures migrate to egocentric societies they may feel more alienated. In order to assess and manage migrants, the clinicians need to be aware of the pathways into migration.

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