Samoan Culture, Free Essay Example

Published: 2022-03-23
Samoan Culture, Free Essay Example
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Culture Nursing Community health
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1681 words
15 min read

The Samoan culture is found in Samoa, which is an amalgamation of nine islands. The largest of these islands are Upolu which measures 430 square miles and Savai'i which measures 703 square miles. The Samoan population is relatively small; as at 2000, it was estimated to be 172,000 (Meleisea & Schoeffel, 2017). 94 percent of this population is ethnically Samoan. The rest are descendants of cultures that settled in Samoa in the late 19th and early 20th century. Small as this population is, they have maintained their traditions and cultural heritage in the face of modernity. Their culture not only affects their perspective but also their receptivity to intervention matters including health. It is imperative therefore that any persons intending to intervene in any capacity understand their culture and how it affects their perception.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The Samoans are known for their reverence for family; they expect every person to act honorably because they are a representation of their family. It is also not uncommon for a Samoan to consider their kin over everyone else. Families work together as a unit often displaying loyalty in matters of power and leadership. The more massive an extended family is, the more influential they are in the village. Each extended family has a chiefly title known as a matai and associated land. The Samoans are also very mindful of hierarchy and the respect it commands. The young are expected to respect and honor elders. Children grow up with the consciousness that they should not shame their family and they must honor those who are older than they are. An illustration of how close extended families are is the fact that mothers and aunts are referred to by the same term, as are father and uncles.

The family setting among the Samoans is mostly patriarchal whereby the man is considered the authority and head in the home. Fathers are also expected to be the primary providers while the women are caregivers in the house. There are some matriarchal settings within the Samoa culture. For instance, a village matai may be a woman. She has to be the daughter of a matai. A female matai becomes the head and principal decision maker of her home. Courtship and marriage are taken because it is considered to be a marriage between two families and not just two individuals. The male usually visits the female's family, often bearing gifts and seeks permission to marry their daughter. In many cases, the consent of the male's family is also requested. After agreement through back and forth visitations and communications, the families may allow the male and female to get married. Monogamous relationships are expected and encouraged.

Samoans are mostly Christians, and Christian principles govern their livelihoods and societal norms for the most part. They believe in a Deity that is all powerful and mighty, but also kind, loving, and gracious to them as His people. The majority of Samoans have embraced Christianity even though it was introduced to them by missionaries in the 19th century. Before this, they have practiced the pantheistic religion. Family elders performed religious rituals at the time. This religion is for the most part no longer practiced among the Samoans. Different families and individuals identify with different variations of the Christian faith including Catholic, Latter-day Saints, and Protestants among others. In the evenings at the signal of a bell, the villagers observe a prayer ritual known as a, which is quiet reflection and worship of God. The Samoans also begin and end public meetings with prayer.

The Samoans tend to be vague in their communication because being too blunt or forward is considered rude. They are unlikely as a result to give a direct negating system and would slightly beat around the bush until the other party figures it out. Their modesty in communication will see them tell people what they assume they want to hear as opposed to the truth if the truth is unpleasant or harsh. They are unlikely to criticize directly and will instead rephrase it or seek to speak to a person privately. The Samoans consider oral skills quite essential and will train through narrations and public speaking, making them excellent negotiators. Their speech is respectful and sensitive, but also very well-articulated. Humor is a standard part of their conversations; they consider the ability to make fun of oneself a sign of good-naturedness and a good sport.

Nonverbal language is also an essential aspect of communication. Public displays of affection between romantic lovers such as kissing and hugging are considered inappropriate. They also believe that it is rude to invade another's private space, so they maintain arm's length when speaking to and interacting with others. Eye contact is also considered unsettling and therefore is not held for long. Whenever a young one speaks to an elder or a subordinate speaks to their boss, they avert their gaze and avoid eye contact as a sign of respect. Looking at an elder or authority in the eye is considered insubordinate and challenging. Using the index finger to point is also regarded as rude. Instead, the chin is used to show direction or point at something. Hand gestures are standard and can get quite dramatic during narrations and storytelling.

Health Views from the Samoan Perspective

The Samoans view health holistically and consider family involvement crucial in health care matters. The holistic approach to health is founded on the principle that health does entail not only an absence of disease but also a healthful lifestyle, a sound mind, and a balanced environment. The Samoans believe that health care should encompass treating the body and mind. The Samoans are not necessarily averse to health care, but they are likely to embrace alternative health care methods including such practices as ayurvedic medicine and natural treatments. A healthy mind and a healthy body can be acquired through lifestyle changes.

Their view of health care is influenced by their culture of the need for holistic health. As a result, they are unlikely to warm up to intervention that appears to only target bodily health. This is why response by American health agencies targeting the rising obesity rates among the Samoans has not been received as openly as was expected. Most intervention skills focus bodily health and completely ignore mental health, which goes against the Samoan view of health as being holistic. A better approach would be to focus both health-related and lifestyle changes. Nursing within the Samoan culture would have to take into account that a patient's healing is to be approached holistically. Patients are more likely to warm up to nursing interventions if the nurse expresses genuine interest in their general well-being. For instance, showing interest in their personal lives including their work and families would create better rapport making patients more receptive to health care interventions.

Samoans believe that illness can either be spiritual or what the European call illness. They also think that through prayer, God can heal disease or intervene in medical care to bring about a favorable outcome. Spiritual illness, they feel, can be cured through religious rituals conducted by church elders. Even so, their belief in God affects their view on healthcare. According to them, doctors may be critical, but they are not considered healers. Samoans believe that God uses doctors to bring about healing.

Nurses should take note of a few factors that will better their interactions with the Samoans. They have to develop a trusting and caring relationship with the patient. They can do so partly by offering solutions to health problems to both the patient and their family since Samoans value family involvement. They should be keen to authenticate their patients' beliefs even as they empower and educate them. Environments within health care centers should have harmony in that they need to appeal to well-being on all levels.

Cultural Assessment

A developmental assessment will allow for the development of a treatment plan that is culturally responsive and mutually acceptable for the patient and the nurse (Shen, 2015). A developmental assessment is founded on the principle that interveners must respect the practices, values and cultural beliefs of the community they work within because people have a right to their cultural beliefs and affiliations. Part of respecting culture is acknowledging it and consciously accommodating it during the plan to ensure that the care provided is culturally competent. In this case, as part of an accommodating culture, health care practitioners should understand how the culture defines illness and treatment as well as what they expect from the nurses and doctors. The following social assessment questions will help nurses ensure that their services are both culturally responsive and competent. It is important to pose these questions respectfully and genuinely as opposed to merely making them part of a routine drill.

How do you feel about coming to the hospital; do you have any fear, doubt, or foreboding?

What does it mean to you to be 'healthy' and what does it mean to be 'sick'?

What do you think caused the illness you are experiencing?

Do you have anything at home that you find would be comforting to have with you in the hospital while you recover? How can you access it?

Who would you entrust with your medical information and care if the need arose?

What part of your daily routine would you like to maintain while in the hospital? Are there any unique practices or traditions that you need to uphold?

Do you have any beliefs or practices that you think would be useful in helping you regain your health? Can you tell us?

How can the hospital be supportive of your religious or spiritual beliefs?

Do you have an unlicensed health care provider from whom you receive medical attention? What kind of medical care do they provide you?

How will your illness and stay in the hospital affect your life and that of your loved ones?


Meleisea, M., & Schoeffel, P. (2017). FortyFive Years of Pacific Island Studies: Some reflections. Oceania, 87(3), 337-343.

Shen, Z. (2015). Cultural competence models and cultural competence assessment instruments in nursing: a literature review. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 26(3), 308-321.

Cite this page

Samoan Culture, Free Essay Example. (2022, Mar 23). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism