This study investigates how family members influence each other’s health-related communication and behavior, and the impact on individuals of living in a dominant culture with health behaviors that are different from those in their culture of origin. Participants were elders, over 60 years old, and younger family members of a different generation. This study found that it was common for elders to try traditional remedies from their culture of origin first and to delay seeking conventional biomedical treatment until an illness became very serious. Elders often used both conventional biomedical remedies and traditional alternatives at the same time. Participants indicated that although they got more health information through mediated communication, they often took health advice from family members. The sharing of health information and following of advice occurred despite findings that elders tended to be less acculturated than younger family members and that acculturation differences were associated with perceptions of conflict in family communication. The results underscore the need for culturally relevant health interventions, and indicate that, although physicians are a primary source of health information, consideration of family communication in these communities may be an important element of providing effective health interventions.
|Keywords:||Health Communication, Acculturation, Families, Elderly|
Assistant Professor, Hall School of Journalism and Communication, Troy University, Troy, Alabama, USA