In cancer prevention, culture and ethnicity have often been considered in negative terms as a variable to explain "misconceptions" and "knowledge deficits." This study, based on data from nine focus groups with Iranian immigrant women of various ages residing in Sweden, was instead conducted to explore reasoning on cancer prevention and screening within a framework of beliefs on health, illness and sickness for women in general. Complex relationships and reasoning about health maintenance and disease prevention were found to be related to perceptions of body and self, and to the continual construction of social roles throughout the life span. Spontaneous discussion of relationships between stress, maintaining health and developing disease arose in all groups. Negative outcomes associated with stress have consequences for information provision, as focusing on the negative is viewed as leading to negative outcomes. "Cultural" differences appear to be as related to social roles and phases in the life cycle, as to ethnicity.
This article is based on data gathered through 60 qualitative interviews conducted within the realm of three research projects that have used "culture-appropriate lenses" to study the postmigration situation of late-in-life Iranian immigrants to Sweden. The findings gathered through these studies were interpreted against the backdrop that culturally appropriate nursing theories provide. This meant that it was, at times, these elders' backgrounds as cultural "others" that were implicitly used to make sense of the various issues that were brought to the fore by these studies. The particular issue with which this article is concerned is the "unusualness" of these elders' explanatory models of illness. Inspired by the concept "definition of situation" in the symbolic interactionist perspective and by the feeling that this perspective might bring about a different interpretation of the original findings regarding their understandings of illness and disease, we set out to conduct a secondary analysis of these elders' explanatory models of illness. The findings presented in this article will show how the elderly Iranian immigrants interviewed in these three studies utilize the process of "late in life migration" as a point of reference for their understandings of what has caused the illnesses from which they suffered. Hereby we will suggest that the "unusualness" of their explanatory models of illness might be best understood if we focus on what they shared as immigrants (i.e., the fact that the process of late-in-life migration has made their culture obsolete) as opposed to what they shared as Iranians (i.e., their culture of origin).