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With cultural issues prominent in the United States today and with on-going rapid changes in health care management and delivery, this paper discusses the shift from a generic-type psychiatry (i.e., assuming that humans the world over are no different, and will react to given stressors in life in the same manner) to one recognizing that cultural beliefs, mores, peer pressure, family expectations, and other ingredients operate in unique combinations in various cultures and ethnic groups. These social and cultural factors can and will impact treatment modalities and outcomes. Literature reviewed herein illustrates the progressive stages of awareness and incorporation of cultural differences and the many ways they impact treatment. Unfortunately, the rise in managed, rationed health care threatens the future of this progression. It is essential that culturally-based managed care programs be developed and funded to ensure the availability of cost-effective treatment, through an integrated system of services, to patients of all cultural and economic backgrounds. (Authors)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services