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Journal article

Health beliefs of community dwelling older adults in the United Arab Emirates: a qualitative study

Journal article citation:
Ageing International, 40(1), 2015, pp.13-28.
Place of publication:
New York

There is a paucity of information about the health beliefs that older adults in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hold. This is a serious omission as understanding people’s ideas about health maintenance and disease prevention informs public health policy and practice. Using a qualitative methodology, twenty-three community dwelling adults aged between sixty and eighty years were interviewed. The data were analysed to uncover the meanings of health and health beliefs ascribed by the participants within their narratives. Participant narratives revealed representations of health that were in close alignment with previous research. ‘Health as value’ also emerged as a distinct health belief. Analysis of the interview data identified three superordinate themes labelled ‘Health is what you eat’; ‘Health was better in the past’; and ‘Health is from God’ as factors that participants attributed to their health. The implications for the health care system in the UAE are discussed. As the first study of its kind within the UAE, this study provides a solid base from which future studies exploring health beliefs and social representations of health can build upon. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

Profile of mental disorders among the elderly United Arab Emirates population: sociodemographic correlates

GHUBASH Rafia, et al
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 19(4), April 2004, pp.344-351.

Investigates the prevalence, nature and sociodemographic correlates of mental disorders among the elderly United Arab Emirates (UAE) population. UAE nationals aged 60 years or more, were recruited from within a random sample of households representing the UAE national population, irrespective of the age of individuals in each household. Research Instruments included: (i) Geriatric Mental State Interview (GMS-A3): an Arabic version, using the AGECAT for analysis; (ii) A short questionnaire for relevant sociodemographic data. Purposely trained, Arabic speaking interviewers visited the targeted sample households to interview study subjects at their homes. The total number of screened subjects was 610: 166 (27.2%) in Al-Ain; 286 (46.9%) in Dubai and 158 (25.9%) in Ras Al-Khaimah. There were 347 (56.9%) male subjects and 263 (43.1%) female subjects. The mean age of the interviewed subjects was 68.6 (SD 8.3). The commonest diagnostic entities at the AGECAT syndrome case level were depression (20.2%), anxiety (5.6%), hypochondriasis (4.4%) and organic, mostly cognitive impairment with or without dementia (3.6%). Organic syndrome caseness, as an independent entity, showed significant correlation only to older age, while the rest of the mental disorders showed significant correlation with female gender, insufficient income and being single, separated, divorced or widowed. The GMS-AGECAT package proved to be a useful tool for psychiatric assessment among the elderly in this Arabian culture. The prevalence rates of mental disorders among the elderly UAE population were, more or less, within the same range reported by other comparable worldwide studies.

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