Hauora : a socio-cultural perspective : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University

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Massey University
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The present study investigates the role that socio-cultural factors have had on the health of Maori. To date most explanations for observed health disparities between Maori and non-Maori have been found to be inadequate and may actually be due to socio-cultural factors. Supporting this suggestion are health differences between younger and older Maori since the urbanisation of the 1950's and the similarities Maori have with other ethnic minorities globally. Measures of Maoritanga were created in the present study and completed by 128 subjects. These were used to divide the sample into acculturated, partially acculturated and enculturated Maori. Groups differing in enculturation, and gender, were compared on a number of health issues. Health was assessed in terms of subjective wellbeing, general distress, physical symptoms, and chronic illness. Utilisation of Pakeha and Maori health systems were also examined as well as five health behaviours that have been found to differ between Maori and non-Maori. Although the Maoritanga measure appeared to be highly reliable, it failed to find any health differences between levels of enculturation. However, females with low self-reported Maoritanga were found to exhibit significantly more physical symptoms and general distress than females with high self-reported Maoritanga. For the five health behaviours, differences were found between males and females but not between levels of enculturation. There were some differences in the way that different Maori utilised Pakeha and Maori health systems. It appears that culture does have an important role in the health of Maori consequently more indepth investigation is required.
Maori health