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West J Med. 1985 Mar; 142(3): 409–412.
PMCID: PMC1306060

Culture Shock—A Review of Vietnamese Culture and Its Concepts of Health and Disease


Misunderstandings of Vietnamese culture and beliefs have led to many unfortunate incidents in the United States, including court cases for child abuse and even suicide. These can be avoided by an awareness of the cultural background of the Vietnamese, their philosophy of life and the influence of religion and beliefs on their personalities, both as individual persons and as members of extended family units. The Vietnamese concepts of health and disease are presented, along with brief descriptions of certain folk medicines that are frequently misconstrued by American physicians.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Masuda M, Lin KM, Tazuma L. Adaptation problems of Vietnamese refugees. II. Life changes and perception of life events. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980 Apr;37(4):447–450. [PubMed]
  • Nong The Anh "Pseudo-battered child" syndrome. JAMA. 1976 Nov 15;236(20):2288–2288. [PubMed]
  • Tripp-Reimer T, Thieman K. Traditional health beliefs/practices of Vietnamese refugees. J Iowa Med Soc. 1981 Dec;71(12):533–535. [PubMed]
  • Rocereto L. Selected health beliefs of Vietnamese refugees. J Sch Health. 1981 Jan;51(1):63–64. [PubMed]
  • Hoang GN, Erickson RV. Guidelines for providing medical care to Southeast Asian refugees. JAMA. 1982 Aug 13;248(6):710–714. [PubMed]
  • Yeatman GW, Dang VV. Cao Gío (coin rubbing). Vietnamese attitudes toward health care. JAMA. 1980 Dec 19;244(24):2748–2749. [PubMed]

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