Health beliefs of rural Canadians: implications for practice

Aust J Rural Health. 2004 Dec;12(6):258-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1854.2004.00627.x.


Objective: The objective of the present study was to examine the health beliefs, values and practices of rural residents living in two geographically diverse regions of western Canada.

Design: An ethnographic study with semistructured interviews of 55 persons was conducted with participants ranging in age from 19 to 84 years.

Results: Being healthy was described as having balance in one's life, taking into consideration the relationship between the physical, mental, social, and spiritual aspects of the person. Health-seeking behaviours spanned the gamut of diet, exercise, sleep, home remedies, a belief in a spiritual being, to consulting health professionals. Resources that participants valued included professionals who listened, friends, neighbours, church, music, elders, ambulance service and the internet.

Conclusions: It is important that professionals view the person beyond the disease and take into account more than the physical manifestations of an illness. A key component is the demonstration of respect for all persons regardless of age. It is essential that health professionals develop websites providing accurate health-care information. Participants noted the need to recruit and retain professionals in rural regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alberta
  • Anthropology, Cultural
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Status
  • Holistic Health
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manitoba
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Needs Assessment / organization & administration
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Qualitative Research
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Rural Population* / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires