Older people in Spain and other Southern European countries are reported to feel lonelier than the older people in the North of Europe. Data from the 1970s and onwards consistently show this. The present study explores feelings of loneliness as a product of both cultural and situational determining factors, by comparing survey data for Spain and Sweden.
Data derived from several national surveys of the older people in Spain and Sweden with questions about loneliness. For closer analysis we use the Spanish 2006 Encuesta de Condiciones de Vida (Living conditions Questionnaire), and the Swedish 2002-2003 Survey of Living Conditions.
On average, 24% of older people in Spain and 10% of elderly Swedish people expressed sentiments of loneliness in the surveys used here (2006 and 2002-03 respectively). Living arrangements and perceived health are related with factors of loneliness in both countries, although levels differ. For example, people in good health who live alone are five times more likely to feel lonely in Spain (45%) than in Sweden (9%) and two-three times more likely when living alone in poor health (82% and 32% respectively). People in good health who live with their spouse/partner only are equally unlikely in both Spain and Sweden to express loneliness (4-5%). It often seems--when it occurs--to be due to caring for a spouse/partner, or problems in the relationship.
Results highlight the importance of contextual features--health and living arrangements--and cultural expectations in interpreting reported loneliness.
This study examines the extent to which people with different past thermal experience and "climatocultural" history systematically report different outdoor thermal sensations and thermal comfort patterns. After constructing two distinct climatocultural groups co-inhabiting the research setting (native Israelis vs. representatives of colder regions), and comparing their relative thermal preferences in both short-term and long-term observational experiments, we confirmed the existence of a strong correlation between affiliation to a certain climatocultural group and outdoor thermal sensation. It was shown that the degree of this correlation was not a constant value, and the strength of the difference in thermal sensation between different groups might change subject to different environmental conditions and possibly expectations. Under some environmental conditions, i.e., stressful but not extreme, the differences may be accentuated, while under others, i.e., either comfortable or extremely stressful, the scope of difference may diminish. Short-term acclimation may to some extent offset the differences between separate climatocultural groups. The study also showed that the meaning of the thermal comfort scale itself may be perceived unevenly between representatives of different groups.
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A recent governmental report has suggested that the notion of insanity, which has not been a relevant concept in Swedish criminal law for the last 50years, should be reintroduced into the criminal justice system. This move has generated a debate over the most appropriate criteria to be included in a legal standard for insanity. We consider the fundamental question of whether a legal standard is required when introducing insanity, by looking at a legal system in which legal insanity is available but where no standard is used: The Netherlands. Overall, a review of advantages and disadvantages leads to the conclusion that such a standard is necessary. What exactly should that standard be? Is the development of different "grades" of insanity desirable? Legal considerations concerning what is essentially a legal notion should predominate in making these determinations-informed by psychiatric and other relevant scientific findings.
The aim of this article is to study linguistic expressions which include the words North and Northern people. This is done by philological and linguistic analysis of the material, which consists of different types of written documents dating from different historical periods. The oldest historical documents were produced by the Ancient Roman writers, who wrote about wild tribes living in the North. The expression "the evil from the North" in the Bible is also used by the Fathers of the Church, when describing the Great Migrations. The most recent material consists of academic texts-dealing with the Northern dimension--and everyday texts--in this case, mostly of bread packages--referring among other things to people's nutrition and health. Expressions referring to the North are also present in modern material, but the negative association of the older documents is not so present. All the texts, both historical and modern, are discussed as a whole from Finnish and Scandinavian points of view. Semiotic aspects are highlighted by the use of some visual illustrations from the different texts in point.
Despite a growing body of critical scholarship in nursing, the concept of culture continues to be applied in ways that diminish the significance of power relations and structural constraints on health and health care. In this paper, we take a critical look at how assumptions and ideas underpinning conceptualizations of culture and cultural sensitivity can influence nurses' perceptions of Aboriginal peoples and Aboriginal health. Drawing on examples from our research, we examine how popularized assumptions about culture can shape nurses' views of Aboriginal patients. These assumptions and perceptions require closer scrutiny because of their potential to influence nurses' practice with Aboriginal patients. Our specific aims are to: (a) consider some of the limitations of cultural sensitivity in relation to health care involving Aboriginal peoples; (b) explore how ideas about culture have the potential to become problematic in nursing practice with Aboriginal peoples; and (c) explore the relevance of a 'critical cultural approach' in extending our understanding of culture in relation to Aboriginal peoples' health. We discuss a critical cultural perspective as one way of broadening nurses' understandings about the complexities of culture and the many facets of culture that require critical consideration. In relation to Aboriginal health, this will require nurses to develop greater critical awareness of culture as a relational process, and as necessarily influenced by issues of racism, colonialism, historical circumstances, and the current political climate in which we live.
Indigenous knowledge cannot be verified by scientific criteria nor can science be adequately assessed according to the tenets of indigenous knowledge. Each is built on distinctive philosophies, methodologies, and criteria. While there is considerable debate around their relative merits, contests about the validities of the two systems tend to serve as distractions from explorations of the interface, and the subsequent opportunities for creating new knowledge that reflects the dual persuasions. Maori researchers in Aotearoa/New Zealand have been able to apply the methods and values of both systems in order to reach more comprehensive understandings of health and illness. Two case studies are used to demonstrate how the incorporation of indigenous beliefs into research protocols and measurements can enhance health research and understandings of health and illness.
Asthma is one of the most common inflammatory lung diseases and its prevalence and incidence have increased in many developed and developing countries. Asthma places a heavy burden on healthcare expenditures and productivity, which in turn diminishes the quality of life of the individuals involved as well as their families. The goal of improving a patient's knowledge about asthma management should include the enhancement of the individual's skills with the hopeful outcome of improving how the individual manages the condition. However, when health professionals prepare a training program, they are faced with the challenging cosmopolitan reality of individuals with different ethnic backgrounds.
In order to find links between asthma and health literacy in a cultural/ethnicity perspective, we performed a systematic review of all publications on the topic of asthma, health, and literacy among cultural groups from 1980 to 2006 using the Internet and journals: Medline (Ovid), ERIC, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Google, Google Scholar, Sociological Abstracts, and Anthropology Plus. Key words included the following: "asthma," "culture," "ethnicity," "literacy," "health," "health literacy," "health beliefs," "adults," "disease management," "chronic condition," "ethnocultural groups," "minority groups," and "newcomers/immigrants."
More than 650 articles were initially identified in our review; 65 met our inclusion criteria. From these, we examined the factors related to asthma and literacy/health literacy with a cultural lens. All of these are categorized and summarized below. We chose what we considered to be the most relevant and important articles/documents in the research literature to date. Because many of the studies were qualitative, a formal meta-analytic review was not undertaken. We found that current asthma management techniques - including patient education - are not culturally sensitive, linguistically sensitive, or relevant, which creates further difficulties for ethnocultural communities and minority groups in many Western countries. In this systematic review, several themes were identified, including: approaches to language limitation and cultural barriers; the recognition of healthcare system bias (in terms of culturally competent care); and relationship-building to facilitate participatory decision-making by both provider and patient. This review provides further understanding and considerations regarding the beliefs and perspectives of care providers and populations in relation to health and illness, literacy and health literacy, and their association with asthma among ethnocultural communities.
There is an urgent need to better define the impact of cultural and ethnic issues in the management of asthma in Canada. Appropriately designed studies should better define the barriers in the optimal delivery of asthma care influenced by these parameters.