Health literacy, language, and ethnicity-related factors in newcomer asthma patients to Canada: a qualitative study

J Immigr Minor Health. 2011 Apr;13(2):315-22. doi: 10.1007/s10903-010-9405-x.


The objectives of this study were to investigate how asthma patients from new immigrant groups are being informed and educated about asthma and its management, and to identify barriers to knowledge transfer. Four focus groups (n = 29) from Latino, Chinese, Iranian and Punjabi cultural communities were conducted with asthmatic patients in the Greater Vancouver Area. Our results from the focus group discussions can be summarized in four broad areas (a) perceptions of and ways of coping with asthma, (b) perceptions of whether the healthcare system is culturally competent, (c) perceptions of language barriers in regards to accessing the healthcare system, and (d) perceptions of how to access reliable asthma information. The results of this study highlight the importance of diverse cultural beliefs and practices as factors that should be taken into consideration when tailoring interventions to improve asthma outcomes in vulnerable populations, including patients from ethno-cultural communities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / ethnology*
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Communication
  • Cultural Competency
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Ethnic Groups*
  • Fear
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Literacy*
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Trust