comparing mental illness in agrarian and hunter-gatherer societies

Andrew Kishner (askF93@HAMP.HAMPSHIRE.EDU)
Sat, 11 Feb 1995 21:09:46 -0500

Does anyone know of any cross-cultural studies that have compared the
incidence of mental illness between contemporary hunter-gatherer and
simple agricultural societies?
For my undergraduate thesis I am testing the hypothesis that the
incidence of mental illness is greater in agricultural societies than in
hunter-gatherer societies. The reasoning behind my hypothesis is that I
believe there exists a mismatch between human predispositions towards
behavior from our evolutionary inheritance and socially influenced patterns
of behavior inherent in agricultural societies. In speculation, I believe
the socio-ecological factors during and after the agricultural revolution
eventuated in forcing most hunter-gatherers into an agricultural lifestyle
that was less psychologically nurturing than the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Please send any reply to me: Andrew Kishner <>