Effect Of Cultural Values on Patient's Health

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Question :

Some of the main assessment questions are like:

  • What is sin to sickness.
  • Explain conflict theory and functionalism.
  • What is symbolic interactionism.
Answer :


Culture can be define as a system of ideas, beliefs, knowledge, customs which is shared by specific group of people in a society. It is changing constantly. However, the rate of changing of culture varies. Culture has a high impact on health. It largely effects the perceptions of health, illness or death (Almutairi, McCarthy and Gardner, 2015). Healthcare professionals as well as patients are effected by their individual cultures. Different cultural issues plays a vital role in patient health. The study will focus on lay beliefs of the society related to health along with theories of functionalism, conflicts and symbolic interactionism.


Explain Sin to Sickness

It is a cultural belief in society that deeds of individuals will effect their lifestyle in future. Therefore, it is their belief that good deeds will lead to a healthy and prosperous life whereas, bad deeds and cursing other people will result in bad consequences in future and effect individual healthy lifestyle and make them to fall sick or they may face difficulties such as serious health conditions or multiple medical disorders (Taylor, 2015).

Lay beliefs

Lay concepts of health and illness are kind of conceptual theory used by individuals, communities or cultures in activity to maintain health. This concept of health and illness have theories of illness like humoral, Ayurvedic and biomedical but also involve belief about the body in health and illness. It view ideas about the way the body functions and symptoms appear on spacial significance. Like in Ayurvedic medicine, chest pain is consider concern as a symptom of emotional upset not as a breakdown of body function. This concept of treatment differ widely among different cultural groups and also between different socio-economic status people. In term of lay belief concept the treatments may differ from doctors concept (Bieliauskas, 2019). Lay concept about illness may differ from different countries but in India the cause is relate to individuals improper diet, to the natural world as in climate changes, supernatural world. When many people have conceptual model about the origin of symptoms it can termed as folk illness. From this lay beliefs on the health and illness, the emotional distress may arises. The lay believers shape a the way people think in social and cultural significance. The risk factor arises due to the beliefs in major theories about illness locally.


It is a branch of medical science which implement physiological and biological principles to clinical practice. Biomedicine is basically applies to physiology as well as biology. It is a new approach to medicine based on the set of ideas about health. Earlier, the society consider religious ideas and their life use to revolve around church. They do not believe in scientific facts and practicals instead they use to think that knowledge about health can be gain from priests or god agents on earth. After that, they start to move forward in life and moved towards development of modern medical ideas (Crawford and et. al., 2015). Because of biomedicine health professionals starts to form their own organisation and medical standards. With the extent of biomedicine, individuals who use to belief in traditional method of treating illness at homes and places set aside are now indulge in scientific facts and involvement of medication. In a community, health care is consider as a relationship between medical expert who is responsible for delivering quality care to patients and implementation of professional skills and a patient who is responsible for monitoring his own health and report problems if occurred. Biomedical model is use to treat body as a machine.

Socio organisation of health

The framework of social relations within a particular group mostly the relation between its subgroups and institutions is known as socio organisation. Social organisation of health is an organisation that provide health services to individuals and deliver quality care to patients. National health service is a socio organisation which is a government funded system to provide health and medical care services to individual in UK. This include care practitioners, healthcare professionals, nursers and midwifery. They provide all necessary services such as ambulance facilities or care taking services when needed by individuals (Falconier, Randall and Bodenmann, 2016).

Discuses main theories

Functionalism approach in context to health

Functionalist approach lays emphasis of the working of society and focusses that for efficient and effective operation of society, good health and improved medical care plays an essential role. The responsibilities towards the society can not be fulfilled by an individual if they are ill. Stability and functioning of society gets disturbed when numerous people are unfit and are unable to work. Thus, balanced health and better medical care is required for stabilisation of society.

As per this approach, for a individual to be regarded as legitimately sick, they have to met various condition and expectations. Firstly, the person who is ill should not be sensed to cause the disease on their own. Secondly, the ill person should have the will to get well. If they act of being ill or sick, then they are considered as legitimately ill. Thirdly, the illness should be officially confirmed by the skilled professional or physicians and the individual has to follow the orders and instructions of them so as to get well (Pilgrim, 2019). If all the factors are fulfilling then the person is regarded as sick. The professionals or physicians should monitor, treat and diagnose the individual correctly and should prescribe them appropriate medicines so that the individual can become healthy as soon as possible as can become an asset to the society.

Related Article:- Analysing Obesity in Children

Conflict theory in relation to health

Conflict theory state that conflicts arises when status and power are unequally distributed in between groups in organisation. This theory focusing on the conflict between groups over resources. There are some institutions like government, education, religion which indicate the competition and help to maintain the structure. It focuses on two primary class and each class has its own interest. This theory is stated by Karl Marx and he stated that the socio-economic conditions are worse in between the working class and the poor and conflicts develops in between them. The conflict theory arises in context of health because health refers to the level of a person's physical, mental, and social well-welfare.

According to this approach, these three level effect each other in health as everyone need proper physical and mental health care but due to conflict between groups not everyone gain proper physical health and mental care (Purnell and Fenkl, 2019). There are medicines provide by many institutes that seeks to prevent , diagnose, treat illness and to promote health but some are inadequate to receive a proper health care and become ill. These people are socially underprivileged backgrounds. The impact of conflict theory is the inequality in the quality of health care services to the different groups. These inequality bring deficient of health care and difficult for individuals for their well being. Each group attempt to attain more resources from other group of classes and conflict arises between them. The impact of conflict theory is negative on all groups of classes especially on poor classes.

Symbolic interactionism approach in respect to health

The symbolic interactionism approach considers that the illness and health are social structures. According to this theory, an individual is regarded as unhealthy or ill only by the consideration factors of the society and there members. This approach laid importance of the suitable interaction and healthy conversations between the health care provider and patients. The doctors or physicians are the one that mange the situation according to their acquired authority and their till date knowledge of medicines.

It has been seen that the patients usually have to sit and wait for the doctors to come up and diagnose them. They often observed to wear white lab coats for the purpose of safety which help in limiting the transmission of harmful microorganism from one place to another. The patients are commonly called by their name so as to make them comfortable and by this they can eventually describe and outlines their signs and symptoms of the illness (Shen, 2015). Such conversations assist the doctors to prescribe suitable medications and test to make them healthy and fit again. As per this theory, the doctors, especially gynaecologist should not form any personal interest with the female patients and a proper distance should be maintained while examining the genital area of women. Such social and cultural construction determines the health and illness of an individual according to this theory.


From the above report various conclusions can be obtained that the cultures plays a very crucial role in health and illness of an individual. The emphasis has been given more to natural or Ayurvedic remedies for treating sickness. The bio medical aspect focusses on physiological and psychological feature of health. Various theories have been described to form a relationship between social and cultural determinants with health and illness. These theories have primary focuses on the importance of society on the prevention and improvement of health.

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