Importance of Developing Culturally Sensitive Measurement Tools for Perceptions of Health: Perceptions of Health

By Michelle Gonya, Savitri Singh-Carlson, Rathnasiri A Hewage, Melawhy L. , BA Garcia and Sovirny, BS Norng.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As early as the 1920’s, it was suggested that individual health perceptions could be indicators to the onset of disease. Since that time we have discovered that perceptions of health are powerful predictors of morbidity and mortality. At the individual level, they may channel actions. At a societal level, perceptions of health can channel policy for change.
Often perceptions of health are categorized as Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor, or Very Poor. But within each one of those categories, what values of culture, physical ability, social interaction, economical standing, and environmental well-being are placed by that culture? What is the contextual placement of good, fair, or poor? What senses are dominating that culture to form the perception? These are important questions to answer when assessing true perceptions of health among various cultures.
Various measurement tools have been used to assess perceptions of health. Examples are: the Health Perceptions Questionnaire Form II, the Nottingham Health Profile, and the SF-36 health survey. Today many journal articles refer to the use of MOS 20-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-20). Unfortunately, as we moved to improve medical intervention for various populations through Americanized standard measurement tools, the cultural meaning of health and illness was not sustained. Yet we continue to be baffled as to why we cannot reach certain populations.
Development of a measurement tool for acquiring accurate information on perceptions of health in various cultures must go back to basics where the culture is sustained first, followed by the measurement tool.

Keywords: Perceptions of Health, Determinants of Health

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp.177-184. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 586.401KB).

Michelle Gonya

California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, California, USA

Dr. Savitri Singh-Carlson

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Health Sciences, Long Beach, California, USA

I am the coordinator for the dual MSN/MPH degree program in Nursing at California State University. I teach both theory and clinical components to graduate nursing public health students. As a new faculty member I am excited about teaching public health which is my passion. My excitement lends me to my interest in exposing students to multiple diverse clinical experiences in order for them to develop an understanding of the differences and similarities that a patient brings to the health care relationship. My research is with vulnerable cancer patients who are journeying through the cancer experience post treatment. Breast cancer survivors need a care plan to navigate their journey post-treatment. My interest is to make this care plan is not available to all patients in the language of choice. I am hoping to network with colleagues who have similar interests at this conference in order to further my global health interests.

Rathnasiri A Hewage

California State University Long Beach, California, USA

Melawhy L. , BA Garcia

MPH graduate student, California State University Long Beach, California, USA

Sovirny, BS Norng

MPH graduate student, California State University Long Beach, California, USA


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