A Cultural Analysis of Dutch and British Information Pamphlets about Schizophrenia A Cultural Analysis of Dutch and British Information Pamphlets about Schizophrenia: How suitable are they for a multicultural society?
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Schizophrenia is a serious and challenging medical illness, which often interferes with a person's ability to think clearly, to distinguish reality from fantasy, to manage emotions, to make decisions, and to relate to others (NAMI). Schizophrenia affects around one in a hundred people in the course of their lives. It affects men and women equally, and it seems to be more common in city areas and in some minority groups (RCPsych ). It is still unclear what causes the illness, but it is probably a combination of several things, mainly genetics and the environment in which one grows up. In the Netherlands, about one out of a hundred-twenty-five people suffer from schizophrenia (0.8 % of the total population). These numbers are much more dramatic for immigrant groups, where the risk of schizophrenia is four to seven times higher. The risk is highest for second-generation immigrants. New research suggests that social exclusion is one of the most important triggers of psychosis for people with a genetic vulnerability (Selten, Verzwegen 29). This is true for all immigrant groups, particularly Moroccan immigrants living in the Netherlands and African-Caribbean immigrants living in the Great Britain. The research question of this thesis is “how well do information pamphlets about schizophrenia take cultural differences into account?” I will classify the Dutch, Moroccan, British and African-Caribbean cultures according to some of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions (Verluyten 156-201), namely Individualism-Collectivism, Uncertainty Avoidance and Femininity-Masculinity. Besides Hofstede, attention will be given to Direct-Indirect Communication, because there are strong suggestions that there is a link between collective societies and indirect communication (Kim, Sharkey and Singelis in Hua 51). The suitability of the pamphlets for the different population groups will be based on an analysis of words in the pamphlets that can be linked to certain aspects of the dimensions in question. This will be done for the pamphlets of Ypsilon and FPG in relation to the Moroccan culture and for the British RCPysch pamphlet in relation to the African-Caribbean culture. Furthermore, I will compare the two Dutch pamphlets with the British one. After classifying the above mentioned cultures, I will be able to point out the differences between them.