Differential Approaches Needed By Healthcare Professionals Between Korean And Mexican Groups
Korean history dates back to the lower Paleolithic period; the most significant duration was the Common Era and the Three Kingdoms-Goguryeo Silla, ad Baekje (Injae et al. 2014)
The three Kingdoms dominated the Korean Peninsula and Manchuria anand were economic and military rivals
Goguryeo and Baekje kingdoms yielded tremendous power and successively repulsed Chinese invasions severally
Silla had the most power extending across Korea; eventually it managed to unite the Korean Peninsula in 668 BC forming the Unified Silla (Injae et al. 2014)
Unified Silla fell in the ninth century; its collapse culminated in the formation of the Goryeo Dynasty
Under the Goryeo Dynasty, laws were codified, a civil service system adopted, and Buddhism
The Goryeo Dynasty was succeeded by the Joseon Dynasty, after a coup in 1392
During the Joseon Dynasty, the Korean Alphabet was developed and adopted as a substitute for Chinese characters not to mention the numerous cultural and technological advancements that were developed in the same era
1592-1598 invasion of Korea by Japan and Qing Dynasty invasions of 1620s and 1630s also took place during this era (Seth, 2010)
After forcing China out of Korea, Japan expanded its influence in the country which culminated in the Eulsa Treaty of 1905, which made the state a protectorate
Japan eventually occupied Korea in 1910 amid Koreans’ resistance as manifested during the 1919 March 1st Movement (Seth, 2010)
While the South held elections in 1948, a communist dictator was imposed on North Korea
Values and World View
The institution of family is critical in Korean culture; Koreans prioritize family-matters above all else
Traditionally, Korea was a patriarchal society; men were valued more than women, and sons preferred to daughters
Chaemyoun loosely translates to face and represents an individual’s reputation, dignity, and honor (Cultural Atlas, 2020)
Over time, this value has transformed from factual to perceived status and appearance
Koreans make great efforts to disguise their emotions to preserve the preferred reputation
Other core values include toughness, adaptability, tenacity, and nationalism, filial piety, materialism, and education
Language and Communication Patterns
Korean is the national language; its structure, grammar, and vocabulary closely resembles Japanese
According to the Asia Society (2020), Korean is spoken by 20 million persons in North Korea, and another 42 million in South Korea; there are also 2 million speakers in China and 500,000 in Japan and Russia, and 900,000 in the US
There are two hypothesis about the origin of Korean:
The first is that it is a product of the Altaic languages of Central Asia including Turkish and Tungusic; some allege that the Altaic and Uralic languages also influenced its development
The second theory suggests that the language is a product of Dravidian languages of India and the Austronesian languages
Part of the reason for the ambiguous origin is because of the long and sophisticated history between Korea, China, and Japan
According to the Asia Society (2020) Korean language has two main dialects divided across state boundaries:
South Korean or Seoul dialect
North Korean or Pyongyang dialect
Each of these dialects is then subdivided into numerous regional dialects for different provinces as guided by the national language policy
South Korean regional dialects:
Kyonsang 3. Chola
Chungchong 4. Cheju
North Korean regional:
1. Hamkyong 2. Pyongan. 3. Hwanghae
Art and Other Expressive Forms
Korean art history can be subdivided according to the eras it emerged as:
Siberia X-ray rock art in the southeast coast proves the Siberian origin
Flat-bottomed clay vessels with zigzag patterns and comb-pattern pottery were also characteristic of this era
Three kingdoms period
Predominant artistic expressions were in the form of pagodas, plastic art, calligraphy, ivory carvings (Yuseop, 2017)
Religious art, mainly in the form of Buddhist temples also became popular during this era, not to mention tomb art, fresco painting, stone culture, and decorative art
Art made in this era was mainly inspired by the Tang style
Celadon pottery was produced in mass during this era; these were made in a classic style and were jade-coloured e.g. Goryeo Celadon hard pillow
Buddhist art became dominant as the religion was adopted
Landscape painting was adopted
A Gyeon, an official painter of the Jonson Court popularized neo-Confucian painting styles which mainly used bold brush strokes depicting strong contrast between dark and light (Kinder, 2013)
Ink and wash painting styles were also popularized in this era
Buddhist iconography was integrated in Korean art as Buddhism declined
Norms and Rules
Korean societies are built on a tight and strict value system based on commonly accepted norms and rules
Some of the generally accepted norms include:
Gibun relates to an individual’s emotions and feelings.
The society discourages hurting one’s gibun and Koreans endeavor to undertake their activities with utmost regard and respect for each others’ gibun (Foran, 2013)
Koreans prioritize having a harmonious atmosphere and could even forego their pursuit for immediate goals if doing so would be injurious to other peoples’ gibun
The commitment to preserving other people’s Gibun often influences the series of events; for example bad news should not be disseminated in the morning hours at the workplace but instead towards the end of the day (Foran, 2013)
Nunchi is the ability to assess other peoples’ mood (gibun); nunchi is critical in preserving other people’s gibun
Since people often do not express their emotions, Koreans have to be ardent observers to identify non-verbal cues that could provide insight into other people’s emotions (De Mente, 2012)
The lack of nunchi often puts one on a collision path with the society because they constantly hurt others’ gibun and are often likely to make social blunders
Koreans use Jondaemal in formal conversations to express respect especially where the other party is a stranger, elder, or a senior
Banmal is used in conversations among persons who are acquainted, friends, colleagues, family members, or age mates
Unlike Jondaemal, Banmal is relaxed and social
Lifestyle Characteristics and Relationship Patterns
Koreans value relationships based on mutual trust benefit; they often spend considerable time and effort initiating and fostering meaningful, reliable relations
After these relationships have been initiated, Koreans are relentless in nurturing them through various reinforcement efforts to preserve their value to both parties
Exchanging gifts is also a common practice among Koreans in the effort to foster relationships;
There are strict rules guiding gift-giving, which is a common practice:
The number ‘four’ is a ‘taboo’ in this culture, giving gifts in four’s is discouraged
Gifts should be accepted with both hands, but only opened in the absence of the giver
Gifts should be attractively wrapped
The recipient is also expected to offer something of comparable value in return
Pyebaek is conducted after the reception and is exclusively attended by family members
After the pyebaek, family members throw chestnuts at the bride who attempts to catch as many as she can in her handbook; the number caught is believed to be an indicator of the number of children she is likely to have
A baby’s first birthday
Doljabi is done after the first birthday
The baby is placed in front of a variety of items and encouraged to pick only one; the object chosen is believed to indicate their future
Degree of Assimilation or Marginalization
Koreans living outside Korea have undergone substantial degree of assimilation into other cultures
The assimilation has affected their culture, structure, identification
While Koreans in Western countries, such as the US, have adapted to the Western lifestyle, they are still devoted Koreans and mostly identify as Koreans, despite having citizenship in the other country
Some Korean groups convene frequent social cultural activities to preserve their heritage, which shows their commitment to their culture (Kim and Wolpin, 2008)
Koreans communities living in other countries constitute a minority group and are often marginalized mainly on the basis of their ethnicity
Health Behavior and Practices
Elderly Koreans prefer oriental medicine (hanbang) offered by Hanui, traditional oriental medicine specialists
Handbag, which is derived from Chinese traditional medicine, is founded on the principles of yin (um) and yang and employs a variety of diagnostic techniques such as observation, patient history, listening to the patient’s voice and listening to their voice (De Mente, 2012)
Since the society was patriarchal, priority was given to men’s healthcare
Families have a duty to offer care to their ill members, which explains the rarity of nursing homes in Korea (Yi, Stvilia, and Mon, 2012)
Natural techniques of improving health are also prioritized such as saunas and eating natural, uncooked foods
Koreans have a preference for dying at their residences, often in the presence of their eldest son
Comparison and Contrast of Common Characteristics
Koreans are divided into the north and south
South Koreans have a better diet compared to North Koreans and are therefore physically larger and have a higher life expectancy
Both the groups are short-tempered but have respect for their parents and the elderly in the society (Young Kim, 2013)
Wedding cultures between both groups are significantly different- in the South, the bride dons a special wedding dress, unlike in the north, and the event takes place in a serene location while in the north it is conducted at the house of either the bride or gloom (Young Kim, 2013)
The language between both groups has also changed considerably even though they are fundamentally the same
North Koreans are communists while southerners are capitalists
Differential Approaches Needed by Healthcare Professionals
Healthcare professionals need to understand the Korean culture to provide culturally competent care to the patients for optimal health outcome
The practitioners also need to understand the health seeking behavior of the Koreans and their strong ties to oriental medicine to formulate an effective plan of care that provides maximal impact to achieve a positive outcome
Koreans have numerous taboos; the healthcare professionals needs to understand these cultural limitations to avoid violating them or putting the patient in a position where they must make a choice that entails breaking these taboos
While South Koreans are civilized and are likely to be forthcoming with their medical history, this may not be the case with patients from the north due to the lack of civil liberties and freedoms that denies them the freedom of speech
The professionals needs to know how to probe the patient for information safely without making them suspicious of government-sanctioned malice
Mexico is a country with an extensive amount of diverse people but no specific set of characteristics can precisely describe people of Mexican heritage.
Mexicans are thought to be a blend of Spanish white and Indian, Native American Middle Eastern, and African.
Historically, the Olmecs were known as Mexico’s first society. They established in an area on the coast that is now known as Veracruz. Followed by the Maya, Toltec, Aztec.
The Mayans thrived between 250 and 900 A.D. they are known for their development of calendars and writing systems.
The people of Toltec were warriors that gave rise to military in Mesoamerica. They were also innovators of architecture and construction, widely known for their gigantic carved statues.
Around the 12th century, the invasion of the nomadic invaders were the Aztecs who destroyed the Tolan community.
During the Spanish conquest, The Aztecs were the most powerful Indian empire. For over 300 years Mexico, then known as “the new Spain” was ruled by the Spanish and it was considered their land.
For many years the Spanish ruled and it sparked a movement for independence. A date commemorated by Mexicans is September 16, 1810. This represents the day Miguel Hidalgo, a priest, rang the church bell to gather the people of Mexico to rise against the Spanish crown and initiating the war for the independence of Mexico. This event was known as “Grito de Dolores” (Deeds, Meyer, & Sherman, 2018).
Independence did not come to Mexico till 1821, it was a decade long struggle. In 1822, Agustin de Iturbide was named the first Emperor of Mexico but it was short-lived. In 1824, Guadalupe Victoria became the first president of Mexico.
In the years between 1846-1848 the Mexican-American war took place. It ended with the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, with it, the united states gained calirfornia, new Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Nevada as their territory (Jaffary, 2019).
In 1917, the Mexican constitution was adopted.
In 1929, the national Mexican party is formed, it was later renamed the Institutional Revolutionary . This party ruled in Mexico till the year 2000.
During the 30s, Mexico experienced economic growth.
In the year 2000, Vincent fox is the first elected president from the non-Intuitional revolutionary party in Mexico.
Values and World View
Mexicans are very traditional with their culture, values and beliefs.
Family is one of the most important concepts to Mexicans. They are family- oriented and and usually form large families.
The term ‘familism’ is a highly valued in Mexico, this means that any family need outweighs and takes priority opposed to other needs.
It is believed that no decision should be taken lightly and it must not be decided until the whole family has had an input, but overall the head of the family, in most cases the father figure makes the ultimate decision.
In Mexico, religion is very important, Roman Catholic is the religion that dominates in Mexico, with 89% of the population being tallied. No matter the religion, in this heritage it is “ God first, then family.”
Religion plays a role in helping to bind families closer. Ceremonies and celebrations like christenings, weddings, funerals and Sunday morning church help the family spend time together.
God parenting is an important value in this heritage, since it is the people that are to stay with the children if anything should happen to the parents.
Quinceañera is one of the biggest values Mexicans hold. It is the celebration that signifies a young lady going from childhood and coming into maturity.
This heritage has gender specific roles. Women are seen as only meant to stay at home, nurture their children and do housework, they can only work if the man is not able to. In modern times, there have been some modifications of this view, more women have decided to pursue careers. This fact does come with a burden on women because some men cannot let go of their misogynistic ways (McLynn, 2008).
Due to the stereotype that may arise, Mexican Americans find gratification by displaying manners, etiquette and well grooming as way to avoid stigma.
Language and Communication Patterns
Mexico is one of the largest countries in the world that dominates the Spanish speaking language.
Over 80 Millions Mexicans speak Spanish, but, Mexico still has roughly 50 indigenous languages and more than 600 different dialects (Purnell, 2018).
Examples of indigenous languages widely spoken in Mexico include:
Nahuatl and Otami – spoken in central Mexico
Mayan – Spoken in the Yucantan Peninsula
Maya – Quiche – Spoken in state of Chiapas
Zapotec and Mixtec – Spoken in Oaxaca
Totonaco – Spoken in Veracruz
Many of the dialects do not have the same meanings.
People of Mexican descendant are animated and lively. Meaningful conversations tend to be “loud” and may come off as aggressive to those who don’t understand the culture but in reality, they are having a good time (Beezley, 2010).
Mexicans place a great amount of importance on “togetherness” & are known to frequently touch and embrace like relatives and significant others to show that they’re of great value to them.
An important communication pattern is the use of eye contact. Direct eye contact when speaking to the elderly is a sign of disrespect. It is also a sign of impudence when used with superiors like parents or teachers. Avoiding eye contact is a sign of respect.
People of the Mexican heritage have many known dialects many of their sayings do not have the same meaning, a misunderstanding of language can arise easily in the healthcare field when attending these patients, so healthcare must be culturally competent.
Art and Other Expressive Forms
Mexicans are very creative people. They are widely known for their colorful paintings, stunning architecture and their artistic expression.
They express their art through many ways, for example: architecture, painting, music, literature, cinema, and dance.
They have much priceless architectural pieces from colonial times and the pre-Spanish era, these bring and attract much tourists from all around the world.
Some of their most profound attractions are:
Archeological Zone of Tulum – Mayan Port City Ruins
Zona Arqueológica Palenque
Basilica de Santa Maria
Palacio de Bellas Artes
Cadral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de Mexcio
Music is very popular in Mexico, you can find street musicians on every corner you walk. Some of the most known and influential musicians have come from Mexico and have embraced their many genres like Banda, Mariachi, Ranchera, Norteno, etc.
For centuries, Mexicans have expressed their culture through vibrant colors and atheistic. They are widely known for their murals and artisan.
One of their most influential painters was Frieda Kahlo.
The “Golden Age of Mexican cinema” was the period between 1933-1964. During these years, the Mexican film industry reached high levels worldwide success and economic revenue. Popular stars included: Mario Moreno, Pedro Infante, and Dolores del Rio.
The Mexican revolution brought on much inspiration on Mexican literature. It helped to develop what is now known as the modern Mexican novels such as: Como Agua Para Chocolate and The House on Mango Street (Hamnett, 2017).
Some of the most traditionally Mexican dances include: Jarabe Tapatio, La Conquista, Danza de Los Viejitos, Danza del Vendo, and Los Voladores de Papantla.
Norms and Rules
Children are highly valued in Mexican culture because it means that the family name will continue for another generation.
When it comes to education, while it is heavily desired, in poor rural areas parents tend to educate their children in what they need to know. For many Mexicans, university is a goal that unattainable.
Machismo is very evident in Mexican heritage. It Is believed that men are stronger, wiser and more knowledgeable compared to women. Women take responsibility for caring for the children and family’s health.
Titles like Don and Doña offer respect to older members of their community.
When older parents or grandparents are no longer able to live on their own, they move in with their children. Most Mexicans do not believe in the concept of “nursing homes” and consider it their duty and responsibility to help those who raised them (Prescott, 2015).
Extended kinship is another important concept in this heritage, just because someone is termed ”uncle, aunt, brother or sister” it is important to remember that they might not be related by blood.
In the healthcare world, it is encouraged to include both the patient and patients family in the education and plan of care.
Living away from the family home before marriage is mostly unheard of and living with a significant other out of wedlock is rare.
A gift not to be given to any Mexican family are marigolds, they symbolize death, instead present white flowers as they consider to bring good fortune.
Arriving on time to a Mexican household is often seen as inappropriate, therefore arriving 30 minutes later of the given is key.
When it comes to sharing a meal, sitting down at the dinner table before being told to do so or being instructed where to sit is frowned upon.
An evening mealtime is seen as a way for the family to keep up with each other and talk about their day. It is usually done so between the hours of 9-10 pm.
In the Mexican heritage, individuals get their strength from family ties and relationships.
Mexican Americans also have pride in their nationality because it is the source of their various traditions and practices. Even though they work to get money to improve their lives, they believe that leisure is essential for a complete life.
Mexican Americans hold great pride in their grooming, etiquette, and good manners as a sign of respect. They are great values that are rooted in the Catholic religion believes that makes them develop stoic acceptance of adversities of life (Saracho & Martínez-Hancock, 2007).
Besides, Mexican Americans value their togetherness, and closeness and relatives frequently touch and embrace each other. They also like to express their feelings, emotions, and beliefs and value respect.
In terms of education status and occupations, Mexican Americans of the second and third generation are educated and have various job skills.
Various economic opportunities provided in the United States allow them to venture into various careers, including farming, mining, landscaping, and restaurants, among others. However, their predominant language is Spanish, and only a few of them learn English (Saracho & Martínez-Hancock, 2007).
Language barriers are a significant factor that prevents them from attaining jobs, and the immigrants may return to Mexico.
Among the Mexican Americans, familism is a concept that is an all-encompassing value where the traditional family forms the entire society. For this group, the family is given first priority over other aspects of life and even work. There are strong kinship ties among Mexican Americans, and they believe in the family care concept.
The dominant family pattern is patriarchal, but it is gradually changing to the egalitarian pattern because of the increasing socioeconomic status and education.
With the term Machismo, men are valued to have self-confidence, valor, and strength. In sexual matters, men are considered to be stronger, braver, and wiser as compared to women. The responsibility of women is to protect their family’s wealth and make decisions at home. According to Sobralske (2006), Machismo is important in maintaining and sustaining the family’s wellbeing and health.
In the relationship between children and parents, children hold a great value because they continue cultural values and the family lines.
Parents take care of their children and children are expected to show respect to their parents and other members of the family. Though considered child abuse in the US, parents often punish their children as a way of instilling discipline.
There are several rituals among Mexican Americans, including:
In the food rituals, the choice of diet among Mexican Americans varies depending on the area of origin in Mexico. Therefore, dietary habits can be derived from asking different individuals.
The Mexican diet staples include tortillas made from corn, beans, and rice.
The only available Mexican diet in the US is only the flour tortillas.
The understanding of the concept of life and death among the Mexican Americans is demonstrated in their two essential celebrations and rituals that honor the dead:
The Novena Day of the Dead
Mexicans celebrated the Day of the Dead every November 2. This celebration is rooted in the catholic rituals where the feast of all souls is celebrated on that day. According to Eggenberger et al. (2006), Mexicans have an enduring acceptance of things, and they see death as the will of God and part of life. Some Mexican communities honor the dead by cleaning family altars, decorating altars, and giving the spirits of their dead relatives with food offerings.
The Novena is another essential ritual which takes place one day after a person is buried and continues for nine days. This celebration is carried out due to the belief that it is a time when the soul enters heaven, and all the sins are forgiven.
Degree of Assimilation or Marginalization
Mexican Americans are the fastest-growing subgroup of Latinos in the US, representing 7.4% of the whole population.
As they undergo the process of dual cultural adaptation, Mexican Americans, especially youths, face substantial risks that affect their mental health and may lead to conduct problems, financial instability, alcohol abuse, low self-esteem and school failure (Knight et al., 2009).
Besides, the dual cultural adaptation changes various psychosocial dimensions such as beliefs, behaviors, values, cultural knowledge, self-perceived concepts, and attitudes. The changes caused by the adaptation process depends on an individual’s developmental state.
For instance, in early childhood, the assimilation may be manifested through simple changes in behavior such as fluency in English and familiarity with the customs and traditions of the mainstream society (Knight et al., 2009). However, youths may manifest more complex behaviors such as selecting the peers and social contexts of the mainstream society and preference to speak in English.
From various studies, it is evident that Mexican Americans adopt a bicultural identity and develop values and behavioral styles accepted by mainstream society.
By adopting the mainstream cultural values, Mexican Americans face critical outcomes in substance use and academic motivation (Knight et al., 2009).
Health Behavior and Practices
Mexican Americans face various health problems, including:
diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, among others.
The high-risk behaviors for the development of these health conditions include:
the huge trend of alcohol consumption,
cigarette smoking among Mexican American men and women (Escarce et al., 2006).
However, acculturation has reduced this trend of behavior as the Mexicans try to get extroverted and socially accepted.
The Mexican heritage is facing a threat in health promotion and safety because there is a high reliance on traditional means and family units for the provision of healthcare.
There are varying healthcare disparities, such as low socioeconomic status, that prevents access to intervention measures for various health conditions. For instance, Mexican Americans are less likely to obtain physical examinations and cancer screening when compared to other Americans.
In fertility practices, Mexican Americans adhere to the religious beliefs of the Catholic church in their practices of birth control, pregnancy, and infant breastfeeding.
Though abortion is perceived to be morally wrong, many legal and illegal abortions are taking place among Mexican Americans.
The influence of the Catholic church does not prevent some of the fertility practices of the Mexican Americans, such as sterilization, the use of contraceptives, and abortions.
Besides, familism prevents Mexican American women from getting prenatal checkups because pregnant women tend to seek family advice first before going for prenatal evaluations.
Comparison and Contrast of Common Characteristics Between Korean and Mexican Groups
Differential Approaches Needed by Healthcare Professionals Between Korean and Mexican Groups
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