NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: EJ847488
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Oct
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-0973-1342
Epidemic of Hysteria in a School of Rural Eastern Nepal: A Case Report
Shakya, Rabi
Journal of Indian Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, v1 n4 Oct 2005
Introduction: The headmaster of a school (NRMV) in rural eastern Nepal, pleaded for help from the public health Department of Psychiatry, BKIHS, Dharan, Nepal, to prevent closure of his school as guardians of many students refused to send their children to his school, which was supposedly haunted by evil spirits. The author, along with his staff, from the Department of Psychiatry, BKIHS, visited the school and investigated the matter. Findings: The first case involved a 16 year old girl, daughter of the head master of a school. After hearing the death of a "mad" (psychotic) woman, whom she had met 2 weeks ago, the girl developed a brief spell of disorganised behaviour beside the tube well in her school. Soon after, other girls manifested almost similar behaviour in school at different places. In all 70 girls out 300 were afflicted with problems. Boys were spared. Out of 15 such incidents investigated, only 3 cases were precipitated by stressful events. Even though they were heterogenous in terms of diagnosis, the victims and carers believed that they were all the same, the effect of the evil spirit of the "mad woman". Education was the main intervention strategy. It focused on the nature of the problem (medical illness) and its management. This was done by delivering a series of lectures, distributing pamphlets, and appropriate coverage of the events in the local newspaper and radio stations. 6 months later, follow-up was undertaken. There were only 4 new incidents. Thus there was a marked reduction in the incidence of new cases by 3.4/month. Conclusion: Classical mass hysteria still occurs in rural setting of developing countries. Planned psycho-education is an effective intervention.
Indian Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Nepal