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Culture and Global Health

Cultural Determinants of Health and Well-Being
  • Zoe Sanipreeya RiceEmail author
  • Pranee Liamputtong
Living reference work entry
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Abstract

As human beings, individuals’ behavior is “culturally informed.” Culture is crucial for the existence of humans. As all individuals have to deal with health, illness, and death, they have a set of ideas about the nature of health and illness, its cause and cures, and its relation to other aspects of their lives. These are conditions that shape an aspect of cultural knowledge and social experience. Therefore, meanings and understanding of health, illness, and well-being are likely to reflect a marked cultural influence. What is seen as health or illness in one setting, or by the members of one group, is not always perceived the same way in another. In this chapter, we discuss some definitions of culture and the influence of culture on the health, illness and well-being of people. We refer culture to a system of shared ideas, attitudes, and practices that defines the social system of its members. It is a way of life that is shared by group members. Cultural determinants will be included in this chapter, with a particular focus on global mental health. Relating to mental health and culture, we also provide descriptions of the cultural idiom of distress and culture-bound syndrome experienced by some cultural groups. Ethnomedicine and folk healing system, as well as the role of religion in health and healing, will be discussed. The chapter is ended with an in-depth discussion of cultural competence and global health-care provision. Paying great attention to cultural determinants of health will lead to the enhancement of health equity in the globe.

Keywords

Culture Cultural determinants of health Mental health Cultural idiom of distress Culture-bound syndrome Ethnomedicine Folk healing system Religion Cultural competence 

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Copyright information

© The Editors and the World Health Organization 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ScholarCamberwellAustralia
  2. 2.School of Health SciencesWestern Sydney UniversityPenrithAustralia

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