JOURNAL ARTICLE

The influence of culture on immigrant women's mental health care experiences from the perspectives of health care providers

Joyce Maureen O'Mahony, Tam Truong Donnelly
Issues in Mental Health Nursing 2007, 28 (5): 453-71
17613147
It is well documented that serious mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, and post migration stress disorders exist among immigrant women. Informed by Kleinman's explanatory model, this qualitative exploratory study was conducted with seven health care providers who provided mental health services to immigrant women. Analysis of the data revealed that (a) immigrant women face many difficulties when accessing mental health care services due to cultural differences, social stigma, and unfamiliarity with Western biomedicine, (b) spiritual beliefs and practices that influence immigrant women's mental health care practices, and (c) the health care provider-client relationship, which exerts great influence on how immigrant women seek mental health care. The study also revealed that cultural background exerts both positive and negative influences on how immigrant women seek mental health care. We suggest that although cultural knowledge and practices influence immigrant women's coping choices and strategies, awareness of social and economic differences among diverse groups of immigrant women is necessary to improve the accessibility of mental health care for immigrant women.

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