Distribution of distress in post-socialist Mongolia

A cultural epidemiology of yadargaa

Brandon A. Kohrt, Daniel Hruschka, Holbrook E. Kohrt, Nova L. Panebianco, G. Tsagaankhuu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study discusses quality of life in post-socialist Mongolia. Yadargaa, a fatigue-related illness in traditional Mongolian medicine, results from lifestyle imbalance. We examine the distribution of yadargaa and its association to socioeconomic changes under capitalism. Ethnographic interviews concerning yadargaa were conducted with health professionals, yadargaa patients, and laypersons. Epidemiological methods were used to identify risk groups, to estimate the point prevalence, and to assess the distribution of meanings and interpretations of yadargaa. The epidemiological sample included 194 individuals, half urban and half rural. Nearly half of the epidemiological sample suffered from yadargaa (49%). These yadargaa sufferers felt that they benefited less than non-yadargaa subjects from the current socioeconomic changes. Among these, perceived change in employment opportunities was one of the best predictors of yadargaa. Additionally, yadargaa sufferers were predominantly women, the elderly, and urban residents. Yadargaa varies greatly in presentation; Western psychiatric categories are only able to explain half of yadargaa cases. In conclusion, yadargaa strongly associates with disenfranchised groups in the capitalist economy. As a culturally constructed indicator of quality of life, yadargaa is a window into the lives of women and men in post-socialist Mongolia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-485
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume58
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Mongolia
socioeconomic development
epidemiology
quality of life
Mongolian Traditional Medicine
Epidemiology
Capitalism
Quality of Life
Epidemiologic Methods
traditional medicine
layperson
employment opportunity
capitalism
fatigue
lifestyle
health professionals
Fatigue
Psychiatry
Life Style
capitalist society

Keywords

  • Cultural epidemiology
  • Culture-bound syndrome
  • Idiom of distress
  • Mongolia
  • Socioeconomic change
  • Yadargaa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Health(social science)

Cite this

Distribution of distress in post-socialist Mongolia : A cultural epidemiology of yadargaa. / Kohrt, Brandon A.; Hruschka, Daniel; Kohrt, Holbrook E.; Panebianco, Nova L.; Tsagaankhuu, G.

In: Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 58, No. 3, 02.2004, p. 471-485.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kohrt, Brandon A. ; Hruschka, Daniel ; Kohrt, Holbrook E. ; Panebianco, Nova L. ; Tsagaankhuu, G. / Distribution of distress in post-socialist Mongolia : A cultural epidemiology of yadargaa. In: Social Science and Medicine. 2004 ; Vol. 58, No. 3. pp. 471-485.
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