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The Bio-Psycho-Social Model and culture

We can use the Bio-psycho-social model to reflect on factors associated with an individual’s culture.

Culture is most often related to the social factors associated with the development of mental health conditions. However, it is important to recognise that culture can influence mental health in a variety of different ways:



  • Overlapping with the issue of causation, is the need to be aware that cultures will have different viewpoints on causation, and it is important to consider the individual’s personal beliefs around why they are suffering from symptoms of mental illness. For example, Lim et al. (2018) comment on the view that within some Muslim populations, hallucinations are a result of Djinn possession.
  • Cultures view mental health in different ways, and an individual cultural identity may result from stigmatised beliefs and attitudes around the experience of mental health. Self-stigmatised beliefs may make it hard for individuals to seek help.


  • As with self-stigmatised beliefs, a wider stigmatised belief within a community may make or present barriers in the ability to seek help and support from others in the community.
  • Conversely some cultures may be open and supportive, providing a positive environment to discuss mental health difficulties.

Watch this video on cross cultural perceptions of mental health.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Mental Health: Continuum, Culture and Social Media

Anglia Ruskin University