Cultural Identity and Well-Being

Published: 2020-06-10 09:01:04
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Cultural Identity can be identified as the relationship among the people of a given community that have a shared sense of belonging, values if social, cultural and ethnic diversity. Bicultural and multicultural identities can be said to exist if people are related to two or more cultural groups sharing different norms. Cultural identity is significant because it helps people to have a comprehensive understanding of their selves, and they appreciate the way they do things the way they do. Conversely, well-being can be identified as a normal state of physical and psychological in humans. Cultural identity and well-being form a direct relationship in that when people in a certain society develop a strong cultural identity; the cultural identity plays a significant role in the development of well-being within the society. Maori culture in New Zealand is one of the commonly recognized bi-culture in the world whose cultural identity has led to the development of well-being within the society.

Even though Maori is the same, group, they have different ways of lives, beliefs and norms. Their cultural identity is somewhat diverse because different groups within the Maori group tend to do things directly contrary to other groups. For instance, some Maori some subgroups of Maori have strong Christian beliefs while others have other religion beliefs and still other do not associate themselves with any particular religious group. People can identify themselves with the Maori culture based on different aspects. Besides being Maori by having the Maori blood by ancestry, Maori identifies themselves with their behaviors and their language.

Maori have developed a very distinctive cultural well-being besides their cultural diversity. The Maori well-being can be classified as an indigenous well-being that is entirely different from the western definition of cultural well-being CITATION Nat15 \l 1033 (Natasha Tassell-Matamua, 2015). According to Maori, well-being is determined by physical, social and cultural values and beliefs. Also, when one of them gets sick, they use the indigenous ways to perform rituals and other cultural beliefs. The Maori understanding of well-being is completely different from the understanding of well-being in accordance with the western cultural. The western culture uses some paradigms such as biomedical model where diseases are believed to be caused by pathogens. According to this Western culture and understanding of well-being in instances where a person becomes ill, they seek medical attention that follows biomedical model strictly. Contrary to the western models of well-being, the Maori believes in three paradigms of well-being: Te Wheke, Te Whare Tapa Wha, and the Nga Pou Mana.

The Maori experiences differences in the way the Maori people view and perceive well-being. Due to the differences cited earlier about the differences in the cultural identity of the Maori people, a clear relationship occurs because the differences in understanding of well-being can be attributed to the differences in the cultural identity among the group members (New Zealand Psychological Society, 1983). First of all, the differences in cultural identity among the Maori affect their ethnicity, social-economic status, the level of stress and the control that they have over their lives. The socioeconomic status of the Maori can be directly affected by the level of education. Those that are well educated receive high pay as compared to the less educated. This enables them to have access to good healthcare services, a variety of nutritious foods and better lifestyle. Due to these disparities in health, the Maori eventually reports different states of well-being.

The cultural identify that various groups in Maori identify themselves with affects their state of physical well being. Based on whether the Maori are in possession of wealth or not, their physical health is affected differently (Durie, 2003). Most of them that come from humble backgrounds experience a wide range of physical health challenges. Unfortunately, those that are not well endowed do not manage to take their loved ones for better health care services. Rather, they concentrate on the traditional notions that fail often. On the other hand, those of who are financially capable adopt the western model of wellbeing besides believing on their traditional models of well-being. They, therefore, combine the two models of well-being, and physical diseases and disabilities hardly challenge them as compared to those of them who are poor.

In normal set up, wearing of clothes in a public place is termed or seen as normal behavior. What will happen if a man expected to address a multitude of people enters the hall where the multitude is seated wearing Adam suit? What will be running in the minds of those seated? Each person seated wearing clothes will have a different way of reasoning, but given a chance to talk it loud, they will describe the person as psychotic. In general, this can be described as acting or behaving contrary to the normal way. Studies concerning the way of acting in society are described as the study of mental well-being.

According to psychologists, these abnormal behaviors are handled under their harm of study referred to as psychopathology. This involves identification and treating these abnormal characters in the society. From the western point of view, these characteristics are conclusive after assessing an individual (McIntosh & Mulholland, 2011). When the individuals behaviors are found to be contrary to those s/he lives within the same setting, it can be easily concluded as psychologically unwell. This way of investigating the disorder may be described being non-conclusive as not everyone behaving differently is mentally sick. This is because, there are some characters possessed by special individuals such as geniuses. In this case, finding them to act contrary may not be necessarily abnormality.

Mental well-being can be described based on different cultures. In this case, the results wont be the same because at the first place the individuals being dealt with are not the culturally. Divergent ideas are expected with no doubt, just as the case of physical well-being. Just like it wasnt easy to holistically describe mental well-being in the Western sense, the introduction of varied cultural point of view complicates the understanding of this discipline of mental well-being as each and every culture have their sense of reasoning and judgment (New Zealand Psychological Society, 1983).

Nevertheless, all is not lost. Since it been realized that defining mental well-being is a difficult task taking into account divergent minds, it is, therefore, wise to come up with a more sophisticated means and mechanism of handling this menace. The devised mechanisms may not be fully relied on since this is a psychological matter where a conclusive analogy can be drawn. Therefore, to take care of each in the society without leaning to any group, religion or culture, different countries have got a different way of dealing with how to diagnose these disorders.

Taking for example in Aotearoa New Zealand and the United States of America, they use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder-V (DSM-V). This method is primarily based on the Western notion (Durie, 2003). The method has its stipulated conditions of which, when one fulfills these conditions, they are termed as mentally sick. This method has got its challenges when used globally. There could be some mental disorders that cut across all cultures that are addressed by this method and others are not. Again, what can be concluded by this method as a disorder may not be disorders in one culture and can be in another culture.

The mechanism may as well fail in a way to conclude some behaviors as mental disorders while in a certain culture it is described as a serious mental disorder. Some of the disorders listed or categorized by this mechanism may be something totally strange to some cultures and may raise eyebrows. Therefore, this method still stands not to be relied on fully globally because of these cultural differences. In some cases, there are some behaviors that are specifically found in individuals of a certain culture. These special cases might have been described by DSM-V method of analysis or not (Kelly, Christine, Nancy & Hazel, 2009). Such locality-specific behaviors are termed as Culture-Based Syndromes. Some of these syndromes may be treated with the Western point of view as unusual and unscientific, but they remain of reference within the cultural setting.

The Maori have their way of perceiving this discipline of mental well-being. There are some behaviors that are described as abnormal from the Western point of view while to them it is deemed normal or special. On the same note, there are those treated as normal in the Westerners point of view but to the Maori it is an abnormal case. One of those cases felt as abnormal to the Westerners but normal or special in a way to the Maori is a person seeing and having a conversation with a long dead relative. The Maori believe that this is a special gift that some individuals within the society are endowed with. What is notable here is not every individual form this community will be viewed or treated in the same way on addressing this behavior. It is believed that it is a gift or a special character possessed by the individual.

In this society of the Maori again, the factors that cause psychopathology may be handled differently from the Western perception. Some of these cases are treated as caused by supernatural causes, for example, someone acting contrary to a taboo (Kelly, Christine, Nancy & Hazel, 2009). In this case, the person will face the consequences of transgressing the cultural norm by becoming mentally sick. The Maori have culture-bound syndromes. Some of which agree with the DSM-V while others remain to be special. In both cases, they have cultural explanations. The symptoms may coincide with those of DSM-V or differ, either way, there is a cultural explanation.

As Kelly, Christine, Nancy & Hazel (2009) noted Maori group in New Zealand had suffered from a disability due to lack of appropriate cultural identity. These scholars found out that, the Maori had been adversely affected by blindness that impacted on their lives, education, and health. The impairment was found to be rampant due to low levels of cultural identity as the group did not acknowledge nor did they take any account of the impairment. The researcher reported that the impairment was found in higher levels in this community because the Maori have been disabled through assimilatory educational practices and traditional theories that have marginalized the community excluding it from their knowledge, language. Cultural values and cultural practices.

As a study of Maori has indicated, there is a clear and definite relationship between cultural identity and well-being. Even the modern medical experts and psychologist appreciates the role of cultural identity in maintenance, etiology and the treatment of well-being (Durie, 2003). When these health practitioners have a good grasp of a culture of a given community, they are able to understand the impact that culture has on the well-being. This allows them to be in a position to develop strategies and tactics to manage and control the issue of health and well-being within the particular community. For instance, the physician may experience hard times with Maori people who believe in indigenous models of health, treatment and well-being. However, when the medical experts get to understand how different groups relate medical practices with their traditions, culture and beliefs it becomes easier for them to help people in such...

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