October 1968

Psychiatric Disorders Among Aborigines of the Australian Western Desert

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;19(4):413-417. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740100029004

The Australian aborigines are a unique people who provide one of the few remaining examples of a "primitive" society in the evolutionary sense employed by Parsons.1 This situation however will not persist as contact with modern Australian society is exposing more and more aborigines to different concepts of economy, intrafamilial and extrafamilial relationship, political organization, religion, and land ownership. Psychiatric investigation of these people is warranted because of the theoretical interests aroused by their rare culture and also because of the apparent increase in morbidity. In remote parts of central Australia traditional communities still exist where "modern" influences are not great. The present paper reports an investigation of psychiatric disorders in such a community. This work forms part of a comparative study of psychiatric disability of aborigines in remote and urban environments. A previous investigation suggests that the existing patterns are similar to those of western society

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