Illness management strategies among Chinese immigrants living with arthritis

Soc Sci Med. 2002 Nov;55(10):1795-802. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(01)00311-2.


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore arthritis management strategies among Chinese immigrants in Calgary, Canada, and to assess factors, that impact on these strategies. Purposive sampling was used to select 19 Chinese immigrants living with arthritis. Data were collected by means of in-depth interviews. The interview data were analyzed according to the following steps: (1). transcribing interview materials, (2). developing codes, categories and themes, (3). theoretical coding, and (4). laying out the theoretical framework. The results of this study describe factors, that impacted on illness management strategies. These include arthritic symptoms, beliefs about arthritis, beliefs about Western medicine based on treatment experience, beliefs about Chinese medicine, perceived barriers to using Chinese or Western medicine and social support. The emerging process of illness management shows that immigrants usually started using self-care remedies, followed by consulting Western physicians, consulting Chinese healers, and then returning to Western medicine. The results illustrate that disease management strategies among Chinese immigrants are impacted by disease, personal and cultural factors. These factors suggest helpful directions to providing culturally sensitive care, which can lead to greater satisfaction and well being for Chinese immigrants with arthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alberta
  • Arthritis / ethnology*
  • Arthritis / psychology
  • China / ethnology
  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Culture
  • Disease Management
  • Educational Status
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Female
  • Holistic Health
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Patient Satisfaction / ethnology
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Support