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Understanding the Health Beliefs and Practices of East African Refugees

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Objectives: To explore East African refugees' perceptions, ideas, and beliefs about health and health care, as well as the ways in which health information is shared within their communities. Methods: This study consisted of 2 focus groups with a total of 15 participants, including East African community leaders and health professionals. Results: East African refugees in the United States have strong cultural, religious, and traditional health practices that shape their health behavior and influence their interactions with Western health care systems. Conclusions: Health care providers who understand refugees' beliefs about health may achieve more compliance with refugee patients.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Minnesota School of Social Work, St. Paul, MN, USA. 2: University of Minnesota School of Social Work, St. Paul, MN, USA 3: Brian Coyle Center, Minneapolis, MN 4: University of Hong Kong, School of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (SAR), China

Publication date: 2013-03-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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