Explanatory models of mental illness: a qualitative study with Emirati future mental health practitioners
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Cultural traits have an influence on the person's interpretation of mental illness, the expression of distress and help-seeking attitudes. UAE has a unique sociological context where Eastern and Western traditions coexist. Given that there is a scarcity of mental health studies and no study on the explanatory models (EM) of mental illness, it is important to examine the connections between Western biomedical approaches and traditional Emirati illness explanations and how those affect the Emirati EM. In order to explore the influence of those connections on Emirati future clinicians, the present study focuses on young Emirati psychology students in a Western-oriented university. In-depth interviews were performed regarding their EM. The results highlighted the influence of cultural traits on the EM formulation, the importance of family in the Emirati society and the impact of the UAE socio-economic and religious reality in forming the participants’ beliefs on mental illness.