Chapter

<i>Ethnicity and Health</i>

Carole B. Cox and Paul H. Ephross

in Ethnicity and Social Work Practice

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780195099317
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199864744 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195099317.003.0007
Ethnicity and Health

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Health and health care are complex issues that are further complicated by ethnicity that can strongly influence health status, behaviors, attitudes, and service utilization. Culture and values can be influential in the perception of illness and symptoms, in the decision making process of how to act on symptoms, and the choice of treatments. Understanding cultural definitions of illness and the factors that impact the use of medical care is a prerequisite for designing effective and responsive health care systems. Mental health, just as physical health, is also perceived through an ethnic lens with values, expectations, and traditional attitudes influencing how symptoms are perceived and acted upon. Concomitantly, social-economic status can be an equally significant factor on health status and behaviors, and must not be ignored by practitioners. Knowledge, understanding, and a clear ethnic lens enhances the effectiveness of social workers in health care settings.

Keywords: health care; health status; service utilization; illness; symptoms

Chapter.  7514 words. 

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