A comparison study of the presenting symptoms between Maori and Pakeha patients diagnosed with schizophrenia : a thesis presented in partial of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology, Massey University
The exact relationship between culture and the expression of psychopathology among different cultural goups within New Zealand has yet to be firmly established. The present study investigated the relationship between culture and presenting symptomatology of Maori and Pakeha patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. More specifically, the main aim of the study was to investigate whether differences exist between Maori and Pakeha in the expression of schizophrenia and to explore whether paranormal beliefs and cultural knowledge influence the frequency and content of specific symptoms. Three specific hypotheses were tested. First, the hypothesis that Maori and Pakeha differ in respect to levels of Maori knowledge and strength of paranormal beliefs was explored. Second, the hypothesis that Maori have higher frequencies of hallucinations, delusions of control and subcultural delusions and hallucinations was investigated. Third, the hypothesis that paranormal beliefs and cultural knowledge influence the frequency of presenting symptoms between Maori and Pakeha was explored. A total of 14 Maori and 16 Pakeha patients currently admitted to mental health services with a diagnosis of schizophrenia were interviewed using the Present Status Examination (PSE). The Test of Maori Knowledge (TMK), Revised Paranormal Belief Scale (PBS-R) and a Provisional Maori Cultural Identity Questionnaire (PMCIQ) were also administered during the interview (the latter administered only to Maori participants). The findings indicated that Maori participants experienced significantly higher frequencies of hallucinations and delusions than Pakeha participants. There were no significant differences between groups in strength of paranormal beliefs nor were paranormal beliefs found to influence the frequency with which hallucinations and delusions were reported. However, Maori participants had significantly higher levels of Maori knowledge. Moreover, the findings suggest that Maori knowledge was an influencing variable in the content and frequency of subcultural delusions and hallucinations. Limitations of the study, future research recommendations and implications of the findings for the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of Maori psychiatric patients are discussed.