You do what you have to do: Cultural and sociocultural influences on self-medication behavior in the United States.
AuthorVuckovic, Nancy Helen.
Committee ChairNichter, Mark
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation is about the self-medication practices of 40 women in the Southwestern United States, and about the beliefs and practical exigencies which influence those practices on a day-to-day basis. I document cultural knowledge about health, illness, and medicines present in the contemporary U.S. Coexisting models of health are revealed the first of which advocates avoidance of medicines and views medicines as potentialy harmful. The second reflects a dependence on medicine to provide a quick fix for social as well as physical ills. I then examine the changing cultural social, and economic conditions which affect household medication decisions. The effects of time pressures changing gender roles, and lack of health insurance are considered in particular. Findings of this study suggest that these factors lead women to aggressively treat symptoms with medications in an effort to provide for their families within the constraints of time famine, multiple responsibilities, and restricted access to medical care. The narratives women tell about self-medication efforts are integral to their strategies for survival because they enable women to transform situations of "making do" into esteem-building episodes. I conclude by discussing the implications of my findings for anthropological theory as well as for health care policy.