Culture shock and healthcare workers in remote Indigenous communities of Australia: what do we know and how can we measure it?

Alyson Muecke, Suzanne Lenthall, Melissa Lindeman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    22 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Introduction: Culture shock or cultural adaptation is a significant issue confronting non-Indigenous health professionals working in remote Indigenous communities in Australia. This article is presented in two parts. The first part provides a thorough background in the theory of culture shock and cultural adaptation, and a comprehensive analysis of the consequences, causes, and current issues around the phenomenon in the remote Australian healthcare context. Second, the article presents the results of a comprehensive literature review undertaken to determine if existing studies provide tools which may measure the cultural adaptation of remote health professionals. Methods: A comprehensive literature review was conducted utilising the meta-databases CINAHL and Ovid Medline. Results: While there is a plethora of descriptive literature about culture shock and cultural adaptation, empirical evidence is lacking. In particular, no empirical evidence was found relating to the cultural adaptation of non-Indigenous health professionals working in Indigenous communities in Australia. In all, 15 international articles were found that provided empirical evidence to support the concept of culture shock. Of these, only 2 articles contained tools that met the pre-determined selection criteria to measure the stages of culture shock. The 2 instruments identified were the Culture Shock Profile (CSP) by Zapf and the Culture Shock Adaptation Inventory (CSAI) by Juffer. Conclusions: There is sufficient evidence to determine that culture shock is a significant issue for non-Indigenous health professionals working in Indigenous communities in Australia. However, further research in this area is needed. The available empirical evidence indicates that a measurement tool is possible but needs further development to be suitable for use in remote Indigenous communities in Australia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1607
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalRural and Remote Health
    Volume11
    Issue number1607
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Keywords

    • Australia
    • Cultural adaptation
    • Culture shock
    • Indigenous health
    • Remote health
    • Remote health professionals.

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