The Interface Between Cultural Psychology And Health Psychology

Three sources of information are used to explore the courtship between the psychology of culture and health psychology.

PsychLit Search

Article, chapter, and book citations on the PsychLit using culture and health psychology as key words are limited. For example, a search on chapters and books for the period of 1987 to 1996 produced 13 citations, only 2 of which (i.e., Keitel, Kopala, & Georgiades, 1995; Schroder, Rescheke, Johnston, & Maes, 1993) were specifically related to culture and health psychology. The PsychLit citation for books, however, was not inclusive of the volume edited by Dasen, Berry, and Sartorius (1988): Health and Cross-Cultural Psychology: Toward Applications.

Health Psychology Curriculum Resources

A survey of available volumes on health psychology in the home-university library of the authors found two volumes that focused on culture or diversity issues (Kato & Mann, 1996; MacLachlan, 1997). Culture in the majority of the remaining volumes was either not indexed or received limited coverage, such coverage usually being in the context of pain. An exception was the inclusion of a chapter on culture and essential hypertension (Anderson & Jackson, 1987) in the edited volume on health psychology by Stone et al. (1987).

An examination of the content and subject index of two health psychology textbooks (Sarafino, 1998; Taylor, 1999) showed that the subject index of Taylor's book listed a total of nine citations in the text for culture, cross-cultural view, and ethnic factors. On the other hand, Sarafino (1998) included, as appropriate, a gender and sociocultural section in the various chapters of his book on health psychology. Nevertheless, coverage of culture in Sarafino's book related primarily to ethnicity.

Health Psychology Journal

As a journal, Health Psychology publishes articles relating to the relationship between psychological and behavioral variables and physical health. The journal has been described as a primary publication outlet for the field of health psychology and as one of the most widely read APA publications in the area, with over 9000 subscribers (Krantz, 1995; Marks et al., 1998). In the editorial section of the first issue of Health Psychology, the editor indicated that "original studies, concise and authoritative reviews, well-documented descriptions of clinical, organizational, and educational interventions in the health system, and psychological analyses of issues of health policy" would be published in the journal (Stone, 1982, pp. 3-4). While Stone (1982, 1984) incorporated sociocultural influences and culturally determined patterns of behavior in the context of a health system model, he failed to mention absence of cultural studies in the journal during the first three years. Rather, he identified significant gaps in studies on "the psychology of legislators, policy makers, administrators, community members, and consumers who tolerate the presence and promotion of known hazards."

Landrine and Klonoff (1992) reviewed the titles of 326 articles published in Health Psychology for the period of 1982 to 1990 and found 11 articles (3.3%) on culture (i.e., ethnicity and race) and health. The current authors conducted similar reviews on the journal Health Psychology and the Journal of Behavioral Medicine for comparison purposes for the period from 1991 to 1995. Of the 337 articles published in Health Psychology, 25 (7.4%) were on culture and health. Surprisingly, the rate for the Journal of Behavioral Medicine was lower (4.1%). Of the 194 articles published in that journal, only 8 were on culture and health. While the rate of publication on culture and health in the journal Health Psychology commends a higher grade than the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, and the results indicate increased consideration of culture as a factor in health in its publications, the findings also suggest continued lack of substantial attention to culture in health psychology publications. Of the 25 articles published after 1990, one was by Landrine and Klonoff (1992) in which the authors provided convincing evidence for the importance of integrating cultural health beliefs in health. The December 1995 issue of the journal was a special issue providing a publication forum for the recommendations of the eight task groups of the National Conference on Behavioral and Sociocultural Perspectives on Ethnicity and

Health for "future research, research funding and research training relevant to so-ciocultural and behavioral perspectives on ethnicity and health" (Anderson, 1995, p. 649).

It is important to underscore that Krantz (1995) expressed a clear editorial support for cultural publications in Health Psychology. In the editorial titled "Health Psychology: 1995-1999," Krantz (1995) outlined "the editorial philosophy and procedures that will characterize the journal in the upcoming years." These included commitment to the publication of more behavioral intervention studies, prioritization of submissions with direct relevance to issues of physical rather than mental health, and, of most significance in this context, strong encouragement to "the inclusion of women and ethnic minorities when possible in research studies" in health psychology.

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