DSM-5

Maladi moun (literally "humanly caused illness," also referred to as "sent sickness") is a cultural explanation in Haitian communities for diverse medical and psychiatric disorders. In this explanatory model, interpersonal envy and malice cause people to harm their enemies by sending illnesses such as psychosis, depression, social or academic failure, and inability to perform activities of daily living. The etiological model assumes that illness may be caused by others' envy and hatred, provoked by the victim's economic success as evidenced by a new job or expensive purchase. One person's gain is assumed to produce another person's loss, so visible success makes one vulnerable to attack. Assigning the label of sent sickness depends on mode of onset and social status more than presenting symptoms. The acute onset of new symptoms or an abrupt behavioral change raises suspicions of a spiritual attack. Someone who is attractive, intelligent, or wealthy is perceived as especially vulnerable, and even young healthy children are at risk.

Related conditions in other cultural contexts

Concerns about illness (typically, physical illness) causes by envy or social conflict are common across cultures and often expressed in the form of "evil eye" (e.g., in Spanish, mal de ojo, in Italian, mal'occhiu).

Related conditions in DSM-5

Delusional disorder, persecutory type; schizophrenia with paranoid features.

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