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October 14, 1992

Women's Mental Health in Africa

Author Affiliations

Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York, NY

JAMA. 1992;268(14):1940-1941. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490140148057

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The topics in the important book Women's Mental Health in Africa range from spirit possession to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and the contributors are from countries representing both East Africa and West Africa. The book is short, informative, interesting, and readable, so if any of the following questions interests you, you should read it.

How have psychiatric problems of women in Nigeria become associated with increased education? How is it that both traditional cultural values and modernization have become stressful for African women today? How is the ancient cult of Zar similar to conventional, Western mental health treatment? How do the ceremonies of Zar work among Sudanese women in treating mental health problems, such as pain or depression? Why are Zar ceremonies becoming more popular among the literate, urban, middle and upper classes? What is the background and training of the sheikha, priestess, or leader in the Zar