n African Journal of Psychiatry - Yoruba world view and the nature of psychotic illness : original article




: The Yoruba are an ethnic group in southern Nigeria. It is said that their world view centers around a continuous battle between forces of good and evil. Adverse events such as illness are due to the malevolence of enemies, using metaphysical means. Remedy often involves corrective metaphysical intervention, either exclusively or in addition to other methods, such as 'western Medicine'. This 'rule' is said to fit mental illness more than any other type of illness, although there is a lack of empirical data on the subject. This study is aimed at identifying elements of a Yoruba world view, and factors relevant to the perception and treatment of psychotic illness.

: 500 Yorubas in Lagos were randomly sampled (with a questionnaire), and 100 'home video' films were analyzed. Data were analyzed for : elements of world view; elements that pertain to illness in general; elements that pertain to psychotic illness; how such illness is to be treated.
: The world view has a significant influence on perception of psychotic illness.
: It is necessary to understand a people's world view in order to understand (and influence) attitudes towards psychotic illness in themselves and other people.


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