Understanding family involvement in Chinese immigrant women's health and healthcare
Chinese immigrant women from Chicago's Chinatown report that their adult children support their health and healthcare utilization by helping them overcome barriers related to language and transportation, making and affirming decisions, and providing advice regarding nutrition. However, the women expressed concerns about burdening their children and preferred to limit their involvement in health-related matters. Beliefs about filial piety also informed the women's attitudes regarding their children's involvement in their health and healthcare. The women's expectations of their spouse's involvement in their healthcare were low and may be constrained by their preferences to avoid family conflict, as reported in an article published in Health Equity.
Focus groups were conducted with Chinese immigrant women to explore their attitudes, beliefs, and preferences regarding the roles of their adult children and spouse in their health and healthcare utilization, as well as perceived constraints to family involvement. Melissa Simon, MD and colleagues from Northwestern University (Chicago, IL), the Chinese American Service League (Chicago, IL), Mercy Hospital and Medical Center (Chicago, IL), and Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), describe the study in their article entitled, "Chinese Immigrant Women's Attitudes and Beliefs About Family Involvement in Women's Health and Healthcare: A Qualitative Study in Chicago's Chinatown." The researchers conclude that the study findings suggest opportunities for the development of culturally tailored interventions to improve Chinese immigrant women's health and their healthcare.
"There existed a long-held opinion that the 'second best,' and often most pragmatic, way to overcome language and cultural barriers was to use family members as translators. This study highlights the significant error in that view. We need better 'default' options if we are to achieve equity with our patients." states Health Equity Editor-in-Chief Ana E. Núñez, MD, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Professor of Medicine, Drexel University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.