Taijin-kyofu-sho (TKS) is a form of social anxiety that is specific to the East Asian culture. East Asians diagnosed with this syndrome fear interpersonal interactions and therefore avoid social interactions. The syndrome is classified in Appendix A of the DSM-IV. Individuals suffering from the syndrome has a fear of being embarrassed or humiliated in social settings. TKS has two sub-types that are chronic disorders, which are neurotic and offensive. Also, TKS affects individuals at a young age and cause them to be functional impaired. TKS patients have difficulty making conversations and they tend to blush and sweat while in social environments. The offensive sub-type cause patients to become insecure and believe that their peers can recognize their physical defects which include blushing, having a stuff face, body odor, or displaying inappropriate behavior. Individuals with TKS avoid performances and other activities when they are the center of attention. In order to diagnose someone with the offensive sub-type of TKS, they must have a fear of offending others. Asians are taught at a very young age that they are a representation of their culture, which may explain why East Asians develop TKS. The pressure of representing their culture may cause them to become nervous when talking to others; therefore avoiding conversation. East Asians suffering from TKS may be afraid of disappointing their family members. Moreover, the study included in the article focused on the relationship between the United States social anxiety disorder (SAD) features and TKS features. The researchers evaluated the prevalence of the symptoms of TKS and SAD. The results of the study revealed a correlation between the symptoms of TKS and Americans with SAD, which suggest that Americans may be suffering from TKS as well. I believe that cultural bound disorders can become universal can become prevalent in different cultures.


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  1. Amy Sweetapple says:

    To me, culture is the characteristics of beliefs, attitudes, languages, behavior patterns, and other aspects of a certain population of people that tend to have great influence on the people born into that cultural environment or the people who are immersed in it. Cultural settings impact individual’s way of life – from their education, behavior patterns, and to their beliefs. I think that this illness, TKS, should be regarded as a CBS because of the high pressures that East Asian put on their children starting at such a young age. It’s advantages are the high expectations and accomplishments that result from it – in work and school. However it’s disadvantages are the negative impacts it has on communicating in a social environment and seems to terminate interpersonal relationships aside from family. As stated in your activity post, TKS is correlated to the Western diagnosis of social anxiety disorder (SAD). I think that TKS can be explained relatively the same as SAD due to their similar features and symptoms, but possibly have different causes. Regardless of the cause, it is clear that anxiety-like symptoms are very prevalent across cultures and are termed relatively to the culture influencing those individuals expressing it. There are different variations of these culture-bound syndromes, like TKS and SAD, based upon where on the map we are located.

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