Impacts of Cultural Beliefs


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Cultural beliefs form a significant part of an individual and influences many aspects of an individuals life. One of these aspects is communication. Communication refers to the process through which information is transmitted from one party to the other (Baron, 2003). When information is transmitted the recipient interprets this information based on his perspectives, perceptions, values and expectations. Cultural beliefs are the largest determinants of an individuals values, perceptions and perspectives on issues and therefore influence how individual interpret information.

Culture also influences time orientation and personal space. Different cultures hold different patterns of time perception. The Americans are believed to be more future oriented while the Indians are believed to be past oriented (Chebat and Venkatesan, 1993). Culture also influences how people interact with one another. Some cultures allow close interaction between individuals and therefore less personal space than others.

Social roles and religion are also widely shaped and influenced by cultural beliefs. Social roles are influenced by cultural perspectives such as views on gender, roles of children, elders, women and men. Different cultures have different roles for each group of people. Religious beliefs are also shaped by culture. People associate Supreme Being and their religion to circumstances prevailing around them. For example, in ancient Egypt there were many god and goddesses and each was given names, such as god of the sun, derived from their environment.

Culture is also associated with how people view healthcare issues. Cultural beliefs influence health beliefs such as those concerning origin of diseases and their cure. There are communities around the world that have the belief that some diseases are brought about by a curse or supernatural forces. This is typical in African cultures where many diseases such as HIV are associated with witchcraft (Kimanzi, 2008). Some traditions also have traditional cure for various diseases which have been passed on from generations to generations. Some of these cures work while others are usually impracticable according to modern science. There are certain health practices such those concerning delivery, circumcision and treatment of particular types of disease that are strongly associated to cultural beliefs. For example, cultural beliefs in some part of rural India advocate for home delivery as opposed to hospital delivery (Dimox, 2009). There are also many cultures around the world which practices male circumcision and few which still practice female circumcision. These practices still have strong cultural significance and are difficult to break.

Health beliefs and health practices linked with cultures may sometimes be sources of various health risks. For example cultural practices such as female circumcision and home delivery can resort in complication that may lead to various health risks (Dimox, 2009). Health beliefs such as diseases being caused by witchcraft and there being existence of traditional cure can hinder ill people from seeking proper treatment posing some serious threats to their health. There are other cultural beliefs such as those concerning use of contraceptives or sexual conducts that may result in some form of health risks (Kimanzi, 2008).

Culture can also affect dietary preferences, practices and related issues or concerns. Different cultures have different types of food that are common in them and will affect the kind of nutrition in their diets.  Cultural belief also influences perceptions and perspectives of health care providers and nurses.


Baron (2003). Culture and Conflict. Retrieved on February 14, 2011, from

Chebat and Vankatesan (1993) Time Orientation and Canadian Consumer Behavior, Journal of European Advances in Consumer Research, 3, 24-27

Dimox (2009) Belief and Practices in Human Health, retrieved on February 14, 2011, from

Kimanzi (2008). Evolution of HIV/AIDS Discourse among the Haya on Ten Landing Sites. Journal of Health Policy and Development, 6 (3), 95-101, available at


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