Impact of Culture on Use of Western Health Services by Older South Asian Canadians

Shireen Surood, Daniel W. L. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: South Asians are the largest visible minority group in Canada, but little research is available, particularly on the older adults and their use of Western health services. This study examined the effects of the predisposing, enabling, need, and cultural factors on the use of Western health services by older South Asian immigrants.

Method: Using a modified version of the Andersen-Newman service utilization model, the specific effects of cultural factors on use of Western health services were examined. A random sample of 220 South Asians 55 years and older were interviewed in Calgary using a structured telephone survey.

Results: Hierarchical regression analysis showed that the cultural factors were as important as the need factors in explaining the proportion of variance in the use of Western health services. Being a Hindu, immigrated to Canada for a longer period of time, fewer access barriers related to cultural incompatibility, a lower level of agreement with traditional South Asian health beliefs, and a stronger South Asian ethnic identity were significantly related to the use of more types of Western health services.

Conclusions: The findings signify the importance of developing strategies for providing culturally competent health promotion, prevention, and intervention, and health care services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176–180
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

User-Defined Keywords

  • Culture
  • service utilization
  • western health services
  • South Asian
  • elderly
  • older adults


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