Different accounts of health: a study of perceptions of health among iranians in the context of the sf-36 in australia

Momenzadeh, Sirous (2000). Different accounts of health: a study of perceptions of health among iranians in the context of the sf-36 in australia PhD Thesis, Medicine, University of Queensland.

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Author Momenzadeh, Sirous
Thesis Title Different accounts of health: a study of perceptions of health among iranians in the context of the sf-36 in australia
School, Centre or Institute Medicine
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2000
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Natasha Posner
Subjects 730200 Public Health
Abstract/Summary Australia's population as estimated at 30 June 1997 was 18.5 million of which 23.3 percent were born overseas. People from non-English speaking countries account for 14.2 percent of the Australian population. The 1996 Census shows that 2.6 million in Australia speak a language other than English at home. Therefore, no one can deny that Australia's society is characterised by cultural and linguistic diversity. In this context, migrant health services, and policies and the needs of people from different cultural backgrounds in the area of health have been addressed since the early 1980s. This thesis draws attention to the concept of 'health' as a fundamental dimension embedded in the area of health care and its related policies, services, programs, and health instruments. This current study questions the idea of universality in the concept of 'health' which suggests that a certain meaning and construction of health can be applied to any culture and society. For this purpose, a qualitative study was designed to explore the concept of health within a group of Iranians in Australia and to examine the appropriateness of the aspects and constructs of health identified in the SF-36, a self-report health status questionnaire developed in the United States, for an Iranian population. The methodology used in this research sought to collect qualitative data with a sample of 21 Iranians- 10 females, and 11 males. The NUD.IST program was used to organise and manage the data for the first time in the Persian language. Findings from the research provided evidence of the ways a sample of Iranians understood health and its embedded dimensions. The themes that emerged from the transcripts as significantly reflecting participants' conceptualisation of health included harmony, health as a concept which is both emotional and physical; integrated, spiritual aspect of health; tranquillity, physical and emotional aspects of health; social and familial relationships; and absence of disorder. Using these themes, a framework consisting of the components of health was developed. The components of the framework include holistic, spiritual, dualistic, social, operational, oppositional, and comparative and relative dimensions. Findings provide evidence which supports the assumption that a group of Iranians have certain views of 'concepts of health'. The results from the research provided evidence that some of the items and constructs relating to health included in the SF-36 seem to be problematic when administered to an Iranian population. The findings of the thesis suggest that a qualitative inquiry into Iranians' discourse of health and its dimensions should be made with an Iranian group before administering an instrument such as the SF-36. Analysis of findings suggests a number of recommendations and modifications when the SF-36 is translated from English into Persian and administered to a group of Iranians.
Keyword cross-cultural studies of health
health outcomes measurement
health attitudes

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