November 1973

Transient Diabetes Mellitus Associated With Culture Change

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (RP-10), University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle. Dr. Hong is currently at the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;29(5):683-686. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.04200050088015

This communication presents a case study of transient diabetes mellitus occurring in a setting of migration from a foreign country to the United States. The patient described a dream-like, semishock state in which he experienced overwhelming frustrations, a sense of insecurity, feelings of helplessness, and inability to reason clearly and think logically when he faced sudden cultural changes induced by the migration.

The magnitude of life changes produced by migration and subsequent acculturation was measured by the Schedule of Recent Experience. The diabetic symptoms and signs disappeared within three years after onset when the patient regained a sense of security and a sense of competence, and when he had become adapted to the new culture.