Heritage of the Appalachian and Arab People
Health Heritage and Practices of the Appalachian and Arab People
The health heritage of the Appalachian and Arab people as well as their cultural beliefs have an influence on the delivery of health care especially, as concerns community care. Definitively, the Appalachian people are those found in the Appalachia which is the cultural area along the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern part of the United States (Purnell, 2014). The area runs from western New York State to Mississippi and Alabama including regions such as New York, Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania among others within the defined area (Ibid, 2014). They are basically Germans, Scots-Irish, French, Welsh and English people who settled these regions between the 17th and 19th centuries. A key characteristic of the Appalachian people is that typically, they are white, blue collar workers and often rural folk.
Outstanding cultural traits that have influenced communal health care, are their distrust for outsiders which manifests as trust issues. They also have distinct dialects and styles of communication and additionally, the social hierarchy is based on kinship and loyalty is particularly valued within the community (Ibid2, 2014). In terms of communal health, there are difficulties arising from their distrust especially as regards counselling interventions. Therapists who fail to recognize these distinctiveness of culture as compared to the mainstream population, often fail in delivery of such care and thus they must be aware of the differences and utilize acceptable theories and techniques for intervention.
On the other hand, Arabs are identified as people from any of the 22 Arab countries stretching from North Africa to the Arabian Gulf including Libya, Morocco, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Yemen among others (Hajaj, 2015). However, contrary to common belief, Turkey and Iran are not Arab countries. Essentially, Arabs are diverse in terms of religion, political standing as well as ethnicity but they have a commonality of understanding the classical Arabic language as formally spoken and printed (Ibid, 2015). In the United States of America, Arabs have substantial numbers in Los Angeles, Detroit, New York and Washington D.C. cities.
In terms of their acculturation, Arabs view discrimination as the greatest barrier with many believing that they are more of a nation in exile than they are immigrants or citizen of America. For this reason, they have often divided loyalties between their home countries and the United States with a common dilemma being the decision as whether to accept or reject assimilation into Western culture and way of life.
In the Arabic culture, mental health is held as most stigmatizing and in particular women fare worse than their male counterparts in that regard (Ibid2, 2015). In general, this group has negative notions and views regarding mental health especially concerning psychiatric and psychological interventions.
A key health practices of the Appalachian people is managing illness by individuals with no medical training and the problem is that effective interventions are hindered. For instance, 70 – 90% of the population are averse to making positive health behavior change such as quitting smoking (Purnell, 2014). For the Arabs, there are misconceptions regarding the causes of illnesses due to the religious and cultural beliefs that view fate as their master rather than being masters of their own fates as Westerners typically do (Hajaj, 2015). As a result, many fail to visit healthcare facilities and when they do there is preference for gender healthcare givers and providers especially among the women. Conclusively, these are both detrimental health practices arising from the cultural aspects of both the Appalachian and Arabic peoples.
Hajaj, H. (2015).Working with Arab American Clients: A culturally relevant, sensitive, and competent approach. Retrieved from
Purnell, L. (2014). Guide to Culturally Competent Health Care. F.A. Davis.