SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 7.1: Levine, C. S., Miyamoto, Y., Markus, H. R., Rigotti, A., Boylan, J. M., Park, J., . . . Ryff, C. D. (2016). Culture and healthy eating: The role of independence and interdependence in the United States and Japan. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42(10), 1335-1348.

Abstract: Healthy eating is important for physical health. Using large probability samples of middle-aged adults in the United States and Japan, we show that fitting with the culturally normative way of being predicts healthy eating. In the United States, a culture that prioritizes and emphasizes independence, being independent predicts eating a healthy diet (an index of fish, protein, fruit, vegetables, reverse-coded sugared beverages, and reverse-coded high fat meat consumption; Study 1) and not using nonmeat food as a way to cope with stress (Study 2a). In Japan, a culture that prioritizes and emphasizes interdependence, being interdependent predicts eating a healthy diet (Studies 1 and 2b). Furthermore, reflecting the types of agency that are prevalent in each context, these relationships are mediated by autonomy in the United States and positive relations with others in Japan. These findings highlight the importance of understanding cultural differences in shaping healthy behavior and have implications for designing health-promoting interventions.


Journal Article 7.2: Airhihenbuwa, C. O., Ford, C. L., & Iwelunmor, J. I. (2014). Why culture matters in health interventions: Lessons from HIV/AIDS stigma and NCDs. Health Education & Behavior, 41(1), 78-84.

Abstract: Theories about health behavior are commonly used in public health and often frame problems as ascribed or related to individuals’ actions or inaction. This framing suggests that poor health occurs because individuals are unable or unwilling to heed preventive messages or recommended treatment actions. The recent United Nations call for strategies to reduce the global disease burden of noncommunicable diseases like diabetes requires a reassessment of individual-based approaches to behavior change. We argue that public health and health behavior intervention should focus more on culture than behavior to achieve meaningful and sustainable change resulting in positive health outcomes. To change negative health behaviors, one must first identify and promote positive health behaviors within the cultural logic of its contexts. To illustrate these points, we discuss stigma associated with obesity and human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome. We conclude that focusing on positive behaviors and sustaining cultural and personal transformations requires a culturally grounded approach to public health interventions, such as that provided by the PEN-3 model.