Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Colleen R. Taylor


People from different cultural backgrounds have different beliefs and perceptions concerning health and illness. Differing illness beliefs between health professionals and patients may result in conflicting expectations regarding treatment choice and outcome. This non-experimental research was designed to explore illness attribution among Caucasian, Hispanics, and Asians with chronic or acute illness. The results suggest that there was no significant difference in illness attribution beliefs between the three ethnic groups; however, primary language, years spent in U.S., and educational backgrounds were associated with differences in illness attribution. Health care providers must think of culture in a broader spectrum than just race and ethnic backgrounds. Further study with a larger sample size and in different languages is necessary to provide more information on patients' perception of illness attribution.

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