Multicultural factors in the treatment of patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders

Ami D. Sperber

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    1 Scopus citations


    A patient’s cultural background is one of the factors that affects the doctor-patient relationship and consequently healthcare outcomes. This is of particular relevance for patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) since there is no clear objective diagnostic marker and the patient’s complaints are the sole basis for diagnosis and treatment. Culture affects the way individuals interpret and manifest symptoms as well as their expectations from the healthcare system. It is an important element in the patient’s explanatory model of disease and impacts on the patient’s illness experience. When the healthcare setting is multicultural and the doctor and patient come from different cultural backgrounds, the potential for cross-cultural miscommunication is considerable. The result is poor health outcomes. Thus, it is critical that medical school and continuing medical education programs include training for cross-cultural competence. These issues are discussed in relation to a young female Chinese immigrant to the United States who develops IBS-D soon after arriving in the new country.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationClinical and Basic Neurogastroenterology and Motility
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Electronic)9780128130377
    ISBN (Print)9780128130384
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


    • Competence
    • Culture
    • Doctor-patient relationship
    • Explanatory model
    • FGID
    • IBS
    • Multicultural clinical setting
    • Psychosocial

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Medicine


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