When Culture Impacts Health book cover

When Culture Impacts Health

Global Lessons for Effective Health Research

Bringing the hard-to-quantify aspects of lived experience to analysis, and emphasizing what might be lost in interventions if cultural insights are absent, this book includes case studies from across the Asia and Pacific regions -Bangladesh, Malaysia, New Guinea, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Tuvalu and the Cook Islands. When Culture Impacts Health offers conceptual, methodological and practical insights into understanding and successfully mediating cultural influences to address old and new public health issues including safe water delivery, leprosy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and body image. It contains useful methodological tools - how to map cultural consensus, measure wealth capital, conduct a cultural economy audit, for example. It provides approaches for discerning between ethnic and racial constructs and for conducting research among indigenous peoples. The book will be indispensible for culture and health researchers in all regions.


Researchers and graduate and undergraduate students in public health and epidemiology, government public health organizations, anthropology health economists, physicians, nurses and others seeking an overview of public health.

Paperback, 380 Pages

Published: February 2013

Imprint: Academic Press

ISBN: 978-0-12-415921-1


  • "Banwell, Ulijaszek, and Dixon assemble 30 essays by health sociology, medical and bio-anthropology, cultural anthropology, and epidemiology researchers from Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, and the UK, who provide medical anthropologists and social epidemiologists with conceptual and measurement tools to improve their understanding of how culture affects population health behaviors and chronic and infectious disease risks and demonstrate how public health can influence culture to encourage healthy lifestyles."--Reference and Research Book News, August 2013


  • 1. When culture impacts health

      Cathy Banwell, Stanley Ulijaszek and Jane Dixon

    Part A - Research approaches

    2. Antecedents of Culture-in-Health Research

      Dorothy Broom, Cathy Banwell and Don Gardner

    3. Biological and biocultural anthropology

      Stanley Ulijaszek

    4. Toward Cultural Epidemiology: Beyond Epistemological Hegemony

      Mark Brough

    5. The cultural anthropological contribution to communicable disease epidemiology

      Stephen Luby

    Part B - Local tales

    I. Industrial and post-industrial societies

    6. Medicalisation or medicine as culture? : The case of ADHD

      Helen Keane

    7. Filthy fingernails and friendly germs: Lay concepts of contagious disease transmission in developed countries

      Kate Crosbie, Juliet Richters, Claire Hooker and Julie Leask

    8. Context and environment: The value of considering lay epidemiology

      Anna Olsen and Cathy Banwell

    9. Identity, social position, well-being and health: Insights from Australians living with hearing loss

      Anthony Hogan, Katherine J. Reynolds and Don Byrne

    10. Framing debates about risk for skin cancer and vitamin D deficiency in New Zealand: Ethnicity, skin colour and / or cultural practice?

      Paul Callister and Judith Galtry

    11. Analysing smoking using Te Whare Tapa Wha

      Marewa Glover

    12. Thirty years of New Zealand smoking advances a case for cultural epidemiology and cultural geography

      John D. Glover, Jane Dixon, Cathy Banwell, Sarah Tennant, and Matthew Freeman

    13. On Slimming Pills, Growth Hormones, and Plastic Surgery: The Socioeconomic Value of the Body in South Korea

      Daniel Schwekendiek, Minhee Yeo and Stanley Ulijaszek

    II. Economically transitioning societies

    14. Tacking between disciplines: Approaches to tuberculosis in New Zealand, Cook Islands and Tuvalu

      Julie K. Park and Judith Littleton

    15. Cultural Epidemiology: The example of Pari Village, Papua

      Ian Maddocks

    16. Life and well-being under historical ecological variation: the epidemiology of disease and of representations

      Don Gardner and Robert Attenborough

    17. Perceptions of Leprosy in the Orang Asli (indigenous minority) of Peninsular Malaysia

      Juliet Bedford

    18. A qualitative exploration of factors affection uptake of water treatment technology in rural Bangladesh

      Shaila Arman, Leanne Unicomb and Stephen P. Luby

    19. Anthropological approaches to outbreak investigations in Bangladesh

      Shahana Parveen, Rebeca Sultana, Stephen Luby and Emily S. Gurley

    20. Post-Disaster Coping in Aceh: Sociocultural Factors and Emotional Response

      Rebecca Fanany and Ismet Fanany

    Part C - Methodological Lessons

    21. Non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians: cultural-social positioning and health

      Jill A. Guthrie

    22. Capturing the capitals; a heuristic for measuring ‘wealth’ of NZ children in the 21st century. An application to the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal cohort

      Vivienne Ivory, Susan Morton, Johanna Schmidt, Te Kani Kingi and Polly Atatoa-Carr

    23. Cultural consensus modeling of disease

      Stanley J. Ulijaszek

    24. Reconsidering Meaning and Measurement: An ethno-epidemiology study of refugee youth settlement in Melbourne, Australia

      Sandy Gifford

    25. The cultural economy approach to studying chronic disease risks, with application to illicit drug use

      Jane Dixon and Cathy Banwell

    26. Doing health policy research: how to interview policy elites

      Philip Baker

    27. Thai food culture in transition: a mixed methods study on the role of food retailing

      Matthew Kelly, Cathy Banwell, Jane Dixon, Sam-ang Seubsman and Adrian Sleigh

    28. Developing culturally appropriate interventions to prevent person-to person transmission of Nipah Virus in Bangladesh: cultural epidemiology in action

      M. Saiful Islam, Stephen P. Luby and Emily S. Gurley


    29. From local tales to global lessons

      Jane Dixon, Cathy Banwell and Stanley Ulijaszek

    30. Complementary readings


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