As cultures are never homogenous, people’s beliefs and behaviour should not be generalized. Differences within members of a cultural group may exist which may even be comparable to differences existing among differing cultures. These cultures are further subdivided through professional sub-cultures like medical, nursing, legal etc.. Students corresponding to such professions, particularly medicine and nursing are subject to enculturation as they acquire the culture of the chosen profession (Helman, 2000). In medical profession, this sub-culture incorporates the existing social divisions and prejudices, which can interfere with healthcare and doctor-patient communication. Research into behavioural and social sciences incorporates a broad aspect of health relevant areas. Such research plays a crucial role in highlighting the important health issues in our society.With the development of such studies, the importance of research findings in understanding, treating and preventing health problems has been considered crucial. The behaviour and social science sectors have begun to be increasingly sought by governmental agencies to advice on policy formations, with regard to health issues. The National Research Council’s Division of Behavioural and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) have released over three hundred publications in the last ten years, which are directly or indirectly related to health concerns. These include children, education, family, employment and training. At the individual level, these studies provide knowledge and understanding of health issues like drug, obesity, alcohol abuse, violent behaviour, smoking, stress management, illness coping and health decision making. Such knowledge helps in promoting good health attitudes like well-being, distributing healthcare across geographical, sociological and economical boundaries, use and misuse of healthcare institutions and monitoring health provider’s behaviour. The behavioural and social sciences knowledge also help in transferring belief through generations, analyse economics involved in alternate healthcare systems and track social and psychological effects on treatment and recovery (NRC, 2005). It has now been widely acknowledged that certain diseases like heart and lung disease, tuberculosis, malaria etc., hitherto considered a realm of biomedical research, cannot be fully understood and treated without support of behaviour and social
National Research Council (U.S). 2005, Advancing the Nation’s health Needs, National Academics. Washington D.C.
Bassett, C. (ed.) 2004, Qualitative Research in Health Care, Whurr Publishers, London
Helman, G.C. 2000, Culture, Health and Illness, 4th ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford
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