Cultural Factors and Religion in Health
Culture refers to a general pattern of behaviors, customs, and ideas shared by a specific group in society. The extent of influence of these cultural factors among aggregate groups in communities is vast. The practices tend to affect health perception as well as the preferred treatment for the patient. Sexual orientation, such as female genital mutilation (FGM) practice, has profound negative consequences on the health and overall well-being of women. The most common practice in the Middle East and Asia involves the use of unsterile devices, hence exposing those affected to significant health risks. Besides, the pattern may cause sexual chastity (Picard & Sandi, 2020). Exercise has no health benefits but instead is seen as the primary cause of depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety among women in communities where it is practiced.
Spiritual beliefs and religion as cultural factors have also greatly affected the understanding of what patients perceive to be the primary cause of infection. For instance, most patients lack knowledge of germ theory (Chentsova‐Dutton & Ryder, 2020). As a result, they tend to believe in fatalism, where spirits are responsible for the illness. Patients holding to this belief may never accept any helpful medical diagnosis as they believe that there cannot be a change in the cause of events. As a result, this belief has been the primary cause of death, particularly in rural communities of Afghanistan that believe djinn, an evil spirit is responsible for all manner of illnesses. In light of the above scenarios, healthcare givers need to ensure they understand the cultural orientation of the patient before embarking on any treatment plan. Depending on the shared agreement and understanding, a proper treatment plan can thereby be negotiated.
Chentsova‐Dutton, Y. E., & Ryder, A. G. (2020). Cultural models of normalcy and deviancy. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 23(2), 187-204.
Picard, M., & Sandi, C. (2020). The social nature of mitochondria: Implications for human health. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.