Cultural Understanding of Health and Adjustment to Cardiovascular Disease among the Greek Elderly

By Maria-Irini Avgoulas and Rebecca Fanany.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The onset of chronic illness is a significant life event that poses a frightening challenge at a micro and macro level. One such chronic illness is cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is a major health problem in Australia. The way in which individuals adapt to chronic illness is closely related to the cultural and linguistic factors that are an integral part of personal identity. This study presents the health beliefs of elderly Greek Australians and the way they understand health and disease. The process through which elderly Greek Australians conceptualize CVD and seek medical care will be discussed in the context of their specific cultural views and attitudes towards illness.

Keywords: Health Beliefs, Conceptualization of Heart Disease, Cultural Views and Attitudes, Traditional Views and Beliefs, Elderly Greek Australians

Aging and Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.61-74. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 636.722KB).

Dr. Maria-Irini Avgoulas

Associate Lecturer, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Ms. Maria-Irini Avgoulas is currently employed at Latrobe University in Melbourne, Australia and holds the role of Associate Lecturer/Placements Co-ordinator Rehabilitation Counselling in the School of Public Health and Human Biosciences. Maria’s previous clinical experience includes several years of working in health (acute hospital settings and in-patient psychiatry). She was also employed for a number of years with Centrelink, an Australian Government statutory agency. In 2011 Ms. Avgoulas undertook a study examining the cultural understanding of health and adjustment to CVD among the Greek elderly of Melbourne, Australia. This study is part of a PhD research project that Ms. Avgoulas commenced in 2012 at Deakin University examining the Transmission of Culturally Determined Health Beliefs among Three Generations of Greek Families in Melbourne, Australia.

Dr. Rebecca Fanany

Lecturer, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Science, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr. Rebecca Fanany is a Senior lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University. She is a very experienced teacher and researcher whose work focuses mainly on the relationship between language, culture, and health. Her most recent book is Health as a Social Experience (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).