Objectives: The recent essay by Ethan Watters (2010) in the New York Times on the Americanization of mental
illness with greater globalization raises many important assertions and concerns about the dissemination of Western
models of mental illness throughout the world. At the same time, a there has been parallel trend towards the adoption of
Western models of family structure and child rearing.
Methods: The authors review these parallel trends and reference some studies that support their inter-connection and their
potential adverse consequences on the psychosocial risk factors faced by youth. They also briefly review cases that illustrate
these risks. At the same time, it also presents the counterpoint that globalization may have positive aspects in crossnational
collaboration and learning in addressing the mental health of youth and families. They briefly review the content
of this Special Issue as examples of the benefits from such learning and cross-pollination, tempered with the necessary adaptation
of such lessons to differing cultural contexts and needs.
Conclusion: Increased understanding of these trends as well as inter-national and cross-cultural collaboration will allow us
to more effectively serve American youth and families as well as youth and families in diverse cultures and nations.