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Title: I've got mirgee, innit? : South Asian's health and religious beliefs and experiences of epilepsy
Author: Ismail, Hanif
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 8437
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2007
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The full impact of ethnicity and religion on the health beliefs and behaviours of minorities has yet to be explored. Research has failed to look at the unique position of those who have been born and raised within the West. Also, existing research has failed to explore the impact of plural medicine on minority health beliefs and behaviours. This thesis aims to explore the use of Western and non-Western medical discourses in the health beliefs and behaviours of British South Asians in relation to epilepsy. It addresses issues of religious beliefs and behaviours in relation to the causes of epilepsy, the impact of epilepsy on the lives of individuals, plurality/syncrecy of medical discourses and experiences of NHS services. This study used data gathered from qualitative in-depth interviews with a total of 55 people (30 South Asians with epilepsy, 15 carers and 10 health professionals) and from two focus groups with 16 community members without epilepsy. Fieldwork was conducted in Bradford, which has a sizeable South Asian population. For people with epilepsy, a purposive sample was generated using data from the local epilepsy register. Ethical approval was obtained from the Bradford Local Research Ethics Committee. The sample was divided by religious groupings (Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus). The framework approach was chosen for data analysis. This research found that over half of the interviewees attributed their epilepsy to fate and the will of God, or as punishment for sins of a past life. Some had experienced prejudice from people who believed that their epilepsy was contagious. A strong network of traditional healers was found, providing an "invisible" parallel system of health care in the UK. People turned to religio-spiritual treatments in desperation for a cure, often under the influence of their families after the perceived failure of Western medication. Such treatments were viewed as complementary rather than as an alternative to Western medication. In terms of NHS services, interviewees expressed dissatisfaction with their GPs - particularly South Asian GPs - but regarded specialist nurses as the most helpful health professionals. Overall, lack of appropriate information and advice and language and communication barriers were perceived as major problems in providing a quality service. Health professionals felt that a South Asian liaison worker with knowledge of epilepsy would be ideal to improve services.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available