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“What is strange is that we don't have more children coming to us”: A habitography of child psychiatrists and scholastic pressure in Kolkata, India

Ecks, Stefan; Kupfer, Christine


Stefan Ecks

Christine Kupfer


The mental health of Indian school children could be expected to be a major topic of research. More people below 15 years are living in India than in any other country in the world, and India has undergone rapid social, economic, and demographic changes that have greatly increased the pressures on children to do well in school. Yet there is a striking dearth of research in this field. In this article we present the first-ever study focused on child psychiatrists in India. Based on long-term fieldwork and interviews with psychiatrists in the Kolkata metropolitan area, we present a habitography of how psychiatrists experience young people's problems. Child psychiatrists are greatly concerned about the nexus between heightened expectations of educational success and a rise of mental problems among young people. At the same time, they wonder why not many more children are coming to them with school-related complaints. To date, there is not enough research that could either confirm or disconfirm the psychiatrists' analysis of social changes, but some conclusions on the plausibility of their views can be drawn.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Nov 22, 2014
Publication Date 2015-10
Deposit Date Dec 2, 2014
Journal Social Science & Medicine
Print ISSN 0277-9536
Electronic ISSN 1873-5347
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 143
Pages 336-342
Keywords India; Child psychiatry; Habitography; Child and adolescent mental health; Kolkata; Scholastic pressure; Depression; Psychopharmaceuticals;
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