The traditional Western conceptualization of mental disorders as individual ex- periences that have little or nothing to do with social, cultural or ethnic components, together with the pre-eminence attained in the study of the human brain over the last decades of the twentieth century, have resulted in an increase in the number of biological or intrapsychic explanations put forward by contemporary psychopathology. In consequence, how sociocultural processes are involved in explaining and understanding psychopathological manifestations is not very clearly defined (Agbayani-Siewert, Takeuchi & Pangan, 1999; Fábrega, 1995).
Nevertheless, parallel to this, there has also been a growing and renewed interest in understanding the role played by culture in mental disorders in order to allow cultural aspects to be included in the conceptualization of psychopathologies, in the light of the results obtained by a large number of research studies (for a review, see López & Guarnaccia, 2005).
This interest in seeking to achieve the integration and interaction of biopsychosocial variables within the explanation of psychopathological behavior represented the beginning of a change of paradigm as regards the explanation of both normal and psychopathological human behavior (Mezzich, Lewis-Fernández & Ruipérez, 2003). This change in paradigm involves accepting the fact that psychic phenomena can be explained on a molecular and cellular level, involving tissues, organs, systems, the organism, the way information is processed, the physical surroundings or the sociocultural context (Cacioppo & Berntson, 1992, 2006; Mezzich et al., 2003; Westen, 2004).