Discuss how health and illness beliefs can influence the assessment process.

People seeking health services need to be aware of their illness and health beliefs. These beliefs are influenced by various factors, including cultural, social, and religious values, which shape a person’s view of health and illness. The paper examines the impact of health beliefs on the assessment, which includes the interview and the physical exam.

A client’s belief system can impact how they answer an assessment interview. If a client believes in traditional medicine, it may make them less open to other medical options. Clients may be reluctant to share certain information about their health during an interview, because they believe that it is irrelevant or unnecessary. Therefore, healthcare professionals need to be aware of the potential impact of a client’s belief system on the interview process and adapt their approach accordingly.

Cultural beliefs can also influence health and disease beliefs. Recognize that cultural beliefs could influence physical results. For instance, certain cultural practices, such as traditional herbal remedies, can lead to changes in a person’s physiological responses, which may influence the physical examination findings. To avoid misinterpreting physical exam findings, healthcare professionals need to be familiar with the cultural practices and beliefs of clients.

Moreover, culture can also influence a person’s perception of pain and discomfort. Study after study has revealed that cultural beliefs have been shown to influence how severe and experienced pain. These factors can also impact assessment. Some cultures might discourage clients from expressing pain. This can lead to underreporting. However, some cultures encourage pain expression and may result in clients reporting more pain. Healthcare professionals need to be sensitive to cultural differences in how pain is perceived and adapt their assessments accordingly.

The assessment of people seeking health services can be influenced by their beliefs and practices. The potential effect of belief and cultural systems on healthcare professionals’ assessment processes should be considered and adapted accordingly. To ensure clients get the best healthcare, it is important to encourage cultural competence within healthcare.


Kleinman, A., & Benson, P. (2006). Anthropology in the clinic: A problem with cultural competency and solutions. PLoS medicine, 3(10), e294. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030294

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