Monday, April 20, 2009

Culture and Prevention 1

This week's reading theme was Culture and Prevention. The overarching theme was how different factors (culture being one) play a role in preventive measures and perhaps cures to illnesses in today's world.

Susser & Stein (2000) talks about how culture plays a role in the sexuality and sexual relations in the women of Southern Africa, specifically in situations of preventing HIV/AIDS. The authors conducted a study in different location of Southern Africa and tried to find out factors effecting women's sexual practices and birth control methods that are accepted by both men and women of that region. The authors mentioned many times how all their subjects were excited about using female condoms and almost in unison they said this is what they need. They say that "with regard to women at least, each community needs to be studied in terms of the local situation, and the preventive measures advised and facilitated for residents must take account of the differences between communities" (p. 1046).

However, is this really all that true? If female condoms are that effective or realistic, then why didn't they become popular in the USA? This reminded me of the cigarette/ tobacco companies who concentrate on marketing to developing countries because people in the USA are not buying their products as much any more (perhaps for the risks). Additionally, funding agencies are reluctant to give those away for free, and the research population in this study cannot afford to buy female condoms. Disregarding the practicality of actual usage (look at the video I have added below), what would be the use of a study/ campaign that cannot deliver much?

Steptoe & Wardle (2001) talks about the health locus of control and how "internal locus of control scores were substantially higher than powerful others or chance belief scores on average" (p. 664). But even they say that the correlation between this two factors are small and accounted for minor variance. With all the statistical analysis and post-positivist methodologies, this article did not get through to me much. I strongly feel that feelings and constructs cannot be reduced to numbers and ideologically I disagre with this article.

Donohue, Lorch & Palmgreen (1998) talks about the customization of communication (persuasion) messages based on high and low sensation seekers (HSS/LSS)to make them more effective. They go into different mediums of message sharing, (PSAs for example) and forwards the importance of HSS and LSS after talking about sensation seeking itself. To some extent their work implies that people who are more exposed to violent messages are more likely to take the socially wrong path (drug, violence etc.). However, other literature show that that may not be so accurate.

It would be nice to read tne next segment of Culture and Preventin next week and see what more we can get.

No comments: