Cultural Values In Mental Health

1824 Words 7 Pages
In a culturally diverse country like the United States, healthcare professionals such as nurses will work with people of different cultural backgrounds who have different view of health and illness. Mcgoldrick, Giordano & (2006) concluded that a sense of well-being in terms of physical and mental health within a societal context is strongly affected by cultural identity. Understanding the ethno-cultural attitudes of an individual or community shared values, behaviors and beliefs makes us appreciate importance of these characteristics to life experiences (Yolanda & Griselda, 2006). With this in mind, it is essential for the nurses understand significance influence of cultural values rooted in patients’ health behaviors.
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This culture is also characterized by set of values which include language, family, spirituality/religiosity, folk medicine and respect (Padilla & Villalobos, 2006). Religious beliefs is deeply rooted in Mexican American culture, and guides individual understanding of health and illness (Alvarado, 2008). Alvarado (2008) found that majority of Mexican American identified themselves as a Christian, especially Roman Catholicism. For this reason, individuals from this culture ascribe to beliefs that health and illness status is determine by God, and sees “imbalances of hot-cold and wet-dry as having good luck or being rewarded from God for good behavior” (Giger & Davidhizar, 2004*). Although, spirituality is a coping mechanism use to maintain or reestablish emotional equilibrium during difficult time, many Mexican Americans may delay seeking or accepting medical interventions, especially when spiritual beliefs or rituals must be strictly observed. (Nall & Spielberg, 1967). Conversely, Illness may be viewed as a punishment from God for bad behaviors (Alvarado, 2008). When providing care for individuals from this culture, it is crucial to seek clarification on how religion/spirituality may interfere with care and how this beliefs can positively or negatively impact health …show more content…
(Alvarado, 2008). Many attributes and practices of this culture is not view as incompatible with modern medical practices but used as alternative therapy. One of the most important Mexican American cultural practices that influence health care is called “curanderismo” or folk-healing. Several research studies shows that Mexican American culture used these practices consistently with conventional medicine, but tends to settle for modern medicine if illness is chronic or serious (Padilla & Villabolas, 2007). Apart from folk medicine, Mexican American culture also have set of beliefs or rituals that is believed to have calming effects on health (Nall & Speilberg, 1967). Illness view as punishment, but there are some other traditional beliefs considered as cause of illness. This beliefs include, “empacho” intestinal blockage, “mal ojo” the evil eye, and “susto” fright (Alvarado, 2008). “Empacho” (Intestinal blockage) is refer as Empacho is an “acute digestive distress caused by a complex interaction between social and psychological forces, such as eating against one’s will or disliking a food dish” (Saobralske, 2006). These symptoms of indigestion is perceived to be related to trapped undigested food in the digestive tract. Mal Ojo is a Mexican America traditional beliefs holds that merely admiring or looking a child with “evil eye” or

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