Lay beliefs about hepatitis among North American Chinese: Implications for hepatitis prevention

Hueifang Chen, Shin-Ping Tu, Chong Z. Teh, Mei Po Yip, John H. Choe, T. Gregory Hislop, Victoria M. Taylor, Beti Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The objective was to learn about the hepatitis prevention behavior of relatively unacculturated North American Chinese adults, along with their knowledge, beliefs, and perceptions with regard to hepatitis, screening, and vaccination. Forty Chinese men and women, aged 18-64, were recruited from immigrant communities in Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Semi-structured interviews (Cantonese or Mandarin) were audiotaped, translated, transcribed verbatim, and coded. Open coding, axial coding, constant comparison methods, and QSR NUD*IST 5 software was used for analysis. Findings were validated using eight focus groups. Findings indicated that many interviewees lack accurate knowledge with regard to hepatitis, often confusing the different types. Perceived causes of hepatitis included potentially harmful food (e.g., fried foods or potentially contaminated foods), alcohol, contact with infected individuals, stress, and inadequate rest. Preventive strategies associated with Chinese health beliefs included the use of Chinese herbal medicine, maintaining a stress-free mind, strengthening the body's natural defenses, and getting enough sleep. Other preventive strategies were the practice of good hygiene, vaccination, and the avoidance of contact with infected persons. Vaccination was not seen as primary, as 65% of those who had heard of hepatitis vaccination did not cite it as a means for hepatitis prevention until asked. Also, participants lacked information about the types and purposes of hepatitis vaccination and were worried about side effects. In conclusion, any attempt to promote hepatitis testing and vaccination among the North American Chinese should take traditional beliefs and practices into consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-112
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cultural beliefs
  • Hepatitis
  • North American Chinese
  • Screening
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)


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