Kathryn Law Hale, PhD

Academic Interests

My work is driven by overarching interests in the cultural, clinical, and familial management of severe mental illness, as well as interventions and policies that could improve the treatment and quality of life of psychiatric patients.

I have conducted ethnographic research in both the U.S. and Mexico regarding the beliefs and practices surrounding psychiatric healthcare in an effort to better understand the motivational, interpersonal and structural forces affecting healthcare access or use. I recently completed a longitudinal study on outpatient psychiatric care in the only public psychiatric hospital in the state of Puebla, Mexico. In that setting, I examined the explanations provided by clinicians, patients, and kin regarding the cause and appropriate treatment for various psychiatric disorders and subsequently tracked patient medication compliance and treatment progress in light of those views as well as psychiatrists’ efforts to maintain therapeutic engagement across time.


Current Research Projects

I am currently working with Kathleen Thomas, Ph.D., and Asia Maselko, ScD. Under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas, I am analyzing the interactional effects of an activation intervention on clinical discourse between Latino parents and their child’s mental health provider. In addition, I am helping to implement a two-phase clinical trial of psycho-educational interventions designed to improve service usage and outcomes among Latino pediatric patients. Under the direction of Dr. Maselko, I am working with a dataset from Kerala, India, in order to probe the correlation between measures of emotion regulation and cultural models of mental health problems and behaviors, including suicide.



2017   Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California-Los Angeles

2010   M.A., Anthropology (emphases, Medical Anthropology & Linguistic Anthropology), University of California-Los Angeles

2006   B.A., Anthropology, Emory University



Hale, Kathryn Law.  (2017).  Family Life and Social Medicine: Discourses and Discontents Surrounding Puebla’s Psychiatry Care. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatryhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11013-017-9539-6.

Edwards, Deidre M., Kathryn L. Hale, Rachel E. Maddux, & Mark H. Rapaport.  (2008). Chapter 104: Anxiolytic Drugs. In Psychiatry, Third Edition.  A Tasman, J. Kay, J. Lieberman, M. First, and M. Maj, eds. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Refereed Conference Talks & Posters

Hale, Kathryn L.  “Ecologies of Care and the Desire to Be Más Tranquilo.” Talk presented as part of a double panel entitled “Culture-bound syndromes, idioms of distress, and cultural concepts of distress:  New directions for an old concept in psychological anthropology” at the Biennial Meeting for the Society for Psychological Anthropology, New Orleans, LA. March 11, 2017.

Hale, Kathryn L.  “Neural Networks & Social Networks:  Psychiatric Care in the Hospital in Puebla, Mexico.” Talk presented at the American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting, Washington, DC. December 3, 2014.

Montaño, Zorash, Kathryn L. Hale, Ava Casados, & Tracy Cerda. “Conceptions of Culture: Pre and Post Shifting Cultural Lenses Training.”  Talk presented as part of the symposium, “Findings in the Evaluation of the Shifting Cultural Lenses Model of Cultural Competence,” at the National Latino Psychological Association, New Brunswick, NJ.  October 11-13, 2012.

Hale, Kathryn L.  “Manufacturing Mood, Manipulating Motivation.”  Talk presented at the Society for Psychological Anthropology Biennial Meetings, Santa Monica, CA.  March 31, 2011.

Hale, Kathryn L.  “Gnosis and Diagnosis of Depression in an American Setting.”  Talk presented at the Conference & Workshop Series on Culture & Mind at UCSD.  Oct. 22, 2010.

Rapaport, Mark H., Kathryn L. Hale, Margaret A. Koury, Andrew Shubov, & Catherine J. Bresee.  “The role of oxytocin, vasopressin and cortisol in the beneficial effects of massage.”  Poster Presentation at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Conference. April 2008.

Rapaport, Mark H., Margaret A. Koury, Kathryn L. Hale, & Catherine J. Bresee. “The beneficial effects of massage therapy on psychiatric and biological measures.” Poster Presentation at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Conference. April 2007.