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Title: Oral Health through the Life Experiences of Older Greek and Italian Adults
Contributor(s): Marino, Rodrigo (author); Schofield, Margot Jocelyn  (author); Minichiello, Victor  (author); Wright, Clive (author)
Publication Date: 2002
DOI: 10.1071/PY02040
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Abstract: Little is known about the oral health of immigrant groups in Australia, particularly older immigrants, or about their individual life experience with oral health care services. This study was concerned with understanding the social meaning of the oral health experience of older adults from Greek and Italian backgrounds living in Melbourne, Australia. A qualitative approach was selected to allow participants to describe their lived experiences and perceptions regarding oral health. Seventeen focus group interviews were conducted between June and July 2000, with 172 participants recruited from Italian and Greek senior clubs in Melbourne. All of the participants were born overseas. Transcripts were analysed using key words and concepts. The results indicate that the participants' experiences as immigrants, and of growing up within a set of stories about oral health and interactions with dentistry, is critical to shaping their views about oral health. The various meanings surrounding their oral health experiences are partly shaped within the context of pre- and post-migration, socio-cultural environments, and historical changes in oral health treatment philosophies and approaches. The data shows that early experiences of oral health and dentistry services are highly salient in the form of memories, shared stories and folk beliefs, and may serve to influence current oral health practices even today. The study suggests that if oral health professionals are able to identify and understand specific social traditions and life experiences with dentistry, this knowledge could more successfully engage older immigrant groups with oral health promotion activities and treatments, and be useful for designing and evaluating culturally appropriate oral health interventions for older migrant groups.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Primary Health, 8(3), p. 20-29
Publisher: La Trobe University
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 1324-2296
Field of Research (FOR): 110599 Dentistry not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 920402 Dental Health
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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