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Article

Comparison of Illness Concepts and Coping Strategies among Cancer Patients of Turkish and German Origin

Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), 91054 Erlangen, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The present work was performed in fulfilment of the requirements for obtaining the degree “Dr. med.”.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5580; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17155580
Received: 13 May 2020 / Revised: 22 July 2020 / Accepted: 29 July 2020 / Published: 2 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Health and Wellbeing of Migrant Populations)
Background: The aim of this study was to compare illness concepts and coping strategies among native German cancer patients and those with a Turkish migration background. Methods: Guideline-based, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 German (♂: 8, ♀: 3) and 11 Turkish (♂: 2, ♀: 9) cancer patients. The transcripts were evaluated using a qualitative content analysis in accordance with Mayring. Results: We identified eight categories of illness concepts: stressful life events, environmental influences, the will of God, medical factors, fate, trauma, health behaviour, and psychological causes. German patients frequently attributed their illness to environmental influences, persistent stress, or medical factors, whereas Turkish patients blamed persistent stress, the will of God, or trauma. The last two categories are not found among German patients. We classified the coping strategies into 11 main categories: social support, activity, patient competence, fighting spirit/positive thinking, use of health services/alternative healing methods, lifestyle, emotional coping, cognitive coping, religious coping, spiritual coping, and culture-specific methods for patients of Turkish origin. For German patients, activities as well as social support played primary roles in coping. Turkish patients also often used social support. However, in contrast to the German patients, they are less active and use much more religious coping and culture-specific means. In addition, negative emotions occur more often when processing the illness than in the German patients. Conclusion: Common illness representations and coping strategies could be found for Turkish and German patients, but also specific ones for the respective group. It is particularly noticeable that German patients attach more importance to medical factors and try more actively to cope with the illness. For Turkish patients, cultural and religious factors play an important role, which should also be considered in treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: illness concepts; illness beliefs; coping strategies; cancer; Turkish; migrants illness concepts; illness beliefs; coping strategies; cancer; Turkish; migrants
MDPI and ACS Style

Thein, K.; Erim, Y.; Morawa, E. Comparison of Illness Concepts and Coping Strategies among Cancer Patients of Turkish and German Origin. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5580. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17155580

AMA Style

Thein K, Erim Y, Morawa E. Comparison of Illness Concepts and Coping Strategies among Cancer Patients of Turkish and German Origin. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(15):5580. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17155580

Chicago/Turabian Style

Thein, Katja, Yesim Erim, and Eva Morawa. 2020. "Comparison of Illness Concepts and Coping Strategies among Cancer Patients of Turkish and German Origin" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 15: 5580. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17155580

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