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Title: Health beliefs and help-seeking practices of migrants from the former USSR into Germany
Author: Aronson, Polina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 2945
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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Persons from the former USSR constitute a significant proportion of the migrant population in contemporary Germany. Current research on their health is scarce and carried out from a medical perspective, mostly focusing on health outcomes and patterns of healthcare utilisation. In contrast, this thesis is based on a sociological approach to health as a phenomenon embedded in a complex system of social stratification and cultural traditions. The research question of this thesis is about the relationship of identity to health beliefs and help-seeking practices, and they ways migration transforms ways people think of themselves and their health. To answer this question, qualitative research needs to establish migrants' own interpretations of health and illness in the biographical context. Setting out to identify and explain a variety of native conceptualisations of health, this thesis, on the one hand, seeks to establish differences between migrant and non-migrant population, and, on the other hand, to reflect on heterogeneity of health beliefs and help-seeking behaviours across different sub-groups of former Soviet citizens in Germany. In order to pursue these research objectives, comparative qualitative research design was employed, whereby different groups of migrant population were compared with each other and contrasted to native Germans. The empirical fieldwork was carried out in Berlin in 2009-2010, and included 35 semi-structured interviews (of which 8 were carried out with experts). This thesis suggests that health beliefs and help-seeking practices of migrants from the former USSR in Germany are highly heterogeneous. Attitudes to health make up components of diverse identities acquired in the sending country and that are transformed throughout the migratory processes. First, these findings argue against generalisations about 'fatalistic' health beliefs resulting from communist ideology, a stereotype appearing in some Western literatures. Second, this thesis draws attention to the effects of socialisation in the sending country on conceptualisations of health in the country of immigration, suggesting prospects for research in future migrant generations. And third, it demonstrates that folk conceptualisations of health are hugely heterogeneous, and diverge greatly from medical views of health as an absence of illness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology ; HT Communities. Classes. Races ; RA Public aspects of medicine