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Hypersexual Behavior in Hasidic Jewish Inpatients

Needell, Nancy J. MD*; Markowitz, John C. MD*†

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: March 2004 - Volume 192 - Issue 3 - p 243-246
doi: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000116467.42715.b7
Brief Reports

Although no published studies explore rates of sexual symptoms among mentally ill Hasidic Jews, anecdotal observations led to the lead author’s hypothesis that male Hasidic Jewish psychiatric inpatients often demonstrated hypersexual behavior. We examined whether male Hasidic Jewish psychiatric inpatients had higher reported rates of hypersexual behavior than controls. We reviewed charts of all Hasidic Jews admitted in 1998 to one inpatient psychiatric hospital and age/diagnosis/gender-matched comparisons for evidence of reported hypersexual behavior. Sixty-nine percent of male Hasidic patients and 40% of female Hasidic patients had staff reports of hypersexual behavior compared with 19% of male and 20% of female comparisons. There was statistically significant discordance between male (p < .04) but not female pairs. Increased rates of reported hypersexual behavior in Hasidic male inpatients suggest a link between culture and symptom presentation, which further studies of this unique population group should explore.

*Department of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, and †Personality Studies Unit, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY.

Send reprint requests to Dr. Nancy J. Needell, 331 W. 57th Street #417, New York, NY 10019.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.