Cultural dilemmas of choice: Deconstructing consumer choice in health communication between maternity-care providers and ethnic Chinese mothers in New Zealand

Health Commun. 2014;29(10):1020-8. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2013.831515. Epub 2014 Jan 21.


This article critically analyses the discourse of consumer choice embedded in health communication interactions between maternity-care providers and migrant ethnic Chinese mothers in New Zealand. Findings indicate that Chinese mothers, as the customers of the New Zealand maternity and health care services, are encouraged to "fit in" with the Western discourse of choice. However, the mothers' cultural predispositions for childbirth and communication have a significant impact on the ways in which they respond to and resist this discourse. Drawing on theoretical insights from postcolonialism and Third World feminism, this article contributes to the study of intercultural health communication by examining cultural dilemmas in the discourse of choice that is often taken for granted in Western health contexts. In doing so, it builds a platform for an inclusive maternity care and health environment in multicultural societies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • China / ethnology
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Communication
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Maternal Health Services
  • Midwifery
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • New Zealand
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Transients and Migrants