"Chronicity," "Nervios," and community care: A case study of Puerto Rican psychiatric patients in New York City

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


The role of ethnicity, community structure, and folk concepts of mental illness in facilitating the adaptation of long term psychiatric patients to community living has received little attention. This article examines the cultural concepts of mental illness and the community involvement of 30 Puerto Rican psychiatric patients participating in a New York City treatment program. It is shown that many of the attributes usually associated with chronic mental illness do not apply to this population. It is argued that the folk concept of nervios helps to foster the integration of these patients in a wide range of community networks. The impact of gentrification on these patients' community integration is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-235
Number of pages19
JournalCulture, Medicine and Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 1992
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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