Impact of culture on healthcare seeking behavior of Asian Indians

J Cult Divers. Spring 2010;17(1):13-9.


Healthcare seeking behavior is a dynamic process that evolves through the stages of self evaluation of symptoms, self treatment, seeking professional advice and acting on professional advice. (Weaver, 1970) This article explores the influence of culture at each of these stages in the context of Asian Indian culture. Although Asian-Indians constitute only 1.5% of the US population they are among the fastest growing minorities in the United States. Through the example of Asian Indian culture this article informs the clinicians that at the initial visit they should explore what the symptoms mean to the patient and what modalities including complementary and alternative (CAM) were used by the patient to address them and at subsequent visits they should explore how their advise was filtered through the prism of the patient's culture and what was adhered to and what was not. In the case of disability and death the clinicians should explore religious beliefs such as karma that help the patient in coping.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Asian Americans / education
  • Asian Americans / ethnology*
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hinduism / psychology
  • Humans
  • India / ethnology
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic
  • Medicine, Unani
  • Models, Psychological
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Religion and Psychology
  • Self Care* / methods
  • Self Care* / psychology
  • Self Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States