Jump to Main Content
The Role of Culture in Chronic Illness
- TURNER, DWAYNE C.
- TheAmerican behavioral scientist 1996 v.39 no.6 pp. 717-728
- case studies, chronic diseases, compliance, cystic fibrosis, etiology, patients
- Provider and patient cultural approaches to disease etiology and illness affect the patient's care-seeking behaviors, treatment options, treatment choices, and compliance with Western medical diagnoses and treatments. This article provides cross-cultural examples of these impacts on several chronic illnesses and then argues for a dual medical approach for treatment, an approach that recognizes the strengths and limitations of various cultural medical systems, including those of the Western medical system. A case study of a Mexican American man with cystic fibrosis is presented to demonstrate how culture influences his and his family's understanding of disease etiology and of his illness experience and, consequently, his dual medical approach to treatment.