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Family conceptions of the nature of their relative's illness are part of the coping process and reveal the cultural construction of the illness experience. As part of a larger qualitative study conducted at the Schizophrenia Program of the Department of Psychiatry, Escola Paulista de Medicina - Unifesp, 14 relatives of 8 out-patients diagnosed with schizophrenia were interviewed and invited to talk freely about their ideas and feelings concerning their relative's problem. Qualitative analysis was conducted to elicit categories of illness representations. Three main categories are presented for discussion, Problema de Nervoso, Problema na Cabeça and Problema Espiritual (Nerves, Head and Espiritual Troubles). The authors sustain that these categories can be interpreted as culturally constituted and discuss the relevance of popular illness concepts for a broader understanding of the course and outcome of schizophrenia and for the planing of culturally meaningful intervention programs.


The body of this article is in Portuguese.

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