Non Western Culture Essay

2388 Words10 Pages
Culture can be defined as the characteristics and way of life of a particular group or community of people, including their laws, practices, religion, language and dialect, dress code, cuisine and diet, social habits, celebrations and rituals, etiquette, and music and arts; as well as many invisible traits, such as a shared set of values, beliefs, morals and basic assumptions. Culture is learnt and derived from ones social environment and is influenced by heritage, ethnic origin, social class and family background. Cultures are dynamic and ever-changing (Papadopoulos, 2006) and most definitions of culture are inclusive of the process of change, particularly in today’s increasingly diverse society – which is often described as ‘multicultural’.
Culture is a key determinant of health. It is widely accepted that culture can have a multitude of impacts on the delivery of care, from the health seeking behaviours of an individual, the presentation and perceptions of ill health and diagnosis to patient satisfaction, adherence to treatment regimens and overall outcomes (Bussey-Jones &
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Therefore, many healthcare disciplines continue to take an ethnocentric approach to diagnosing and treating illness. In western cultures diagnoses are often based on the biomedical model of illness, which focuses on biological pathology. However, cross-culturally there are many different models and beliefs used to explain the occurrence of ill health and although the biomedical model is extremely relevant for many disease based illnesses, it is limited in that it does not reflect the beliefs of many cultures. For example, the biomedical model favours the opinion the mind and body are separate and distinct entities, whereas many cultures strongly believe the two are
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