Negotiating Biomedical and Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatments Among Elderly Chinese Singaporean Women

Leanne Chang*, Iccha Basnyat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


In this article we examine how elderly Chinese Singaporean women navigated between biomedicine and traditional Chinese medicine in their practices of maintaining well-being. We interviewed 36 elderly women to understand their negotiation of medical choices in the interplay of structure, culture, and personal agency. Our findings show that participants made situational decisions under structural and cultural influences, such as family members’ changing expectations and interpretations of medical practices, institutional preferences for biomedicine, and the patients’ negotiating position between biomedicine and traditional Chinese medicine. Participants demonstrated their capacity to enact agency through their examination of the effects and side effects of each medical system and through their integrative use of different medical treatments, depending on the purpose. Through our findings, we unveil contextual meanings of health among elderly women and the unique coexistence of traditional and modern medical practices within the context of Singapore.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-252
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number2
Early online date18 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication

User-Defined Keywords

  • Asia
  • South/Southeast
  • culture/cultural competence
  • decision making
  • health and well-being
  • older people
  • women’s health


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