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October 2022

Soc Sci Med. 1986 ; 22(11): 1235-45.

Cultural components of behavioural epidemiology: implications for primary health care.

Heggenhougen HK, Shore L.

In this article we discuss the association of culturally linked behaviour and epidemiology: that patterns of disease are significantly related to cultural sets of normative beliefs and behaviour. The literature on this is vast and includes much of what is written under the headings of Medical Anthropology as well as, for example, Cross-cultural Psychiatry and Medical Geography. A comprehensive review is obviously impossible, but as this is presented primarily as a background paper, basic issues are raised, and related to examples from the literature, to stimulate discussion. The article is divided into four subsections which give an indication of our focus: culture, disease and illness causation; utilization and provision of health resources; health, illness and normative socio-political and economic behaviour and primary health care, community participation and culture--implications for the future.

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