Taking care of culturally different and non-English speaking patients

Int J Psychiatry Med. 1990;20(3):235-45. doi: 10.2190/9RGC-JYMY-GKWC-8M04.


Many physicians evaluate and care for non-English speaking patients and patients from different cultures. If not carefully considered, cultural factors, including language, often interfere with optimal diagnosis and treatment of these patients. In addition to improved clinical care, increased awareness and assessment of these issues will often enhance patient and family satisfaction and cooperation with therapeutic recommendations. A number of cultural examples are given to illustrate various points, which of course cannot be comprehensive, but which should alert the physician for areas to focus upon. The knowledge and skills to perform a sociocultural differential diagnosis and to initiate treatments in these areas are especially important for consultation-liaison psychiatrists.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Psychotherapy
  • Sick Role