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Keywords

Plain Anabaptists; health care beliefs; health care practices

Abstract

The plain Anabaptists are thought to differ from mainstream U.S. health care beliefs and practices. Many non-Anabaptist health care providers have limited knowledge of the specific health beliefs and preferences of Anabaptists, which can lead to misunderstandings. The purpose of this descriptive qualitative study was to collect information from Anabaptist community members related to health care beliefs and preferences in their communities. Participants, who were members of various plain Anabaptist communities, completed a questionnaire containing open-ended questions about health issues. Seven themes emerged in results: (1) health viewed as a gift from God that provides the ability to work; (2) concern about exposure to chemicals and food additives as health risks; (3) the use of a variety of resources from lay members in the community in addition to seeking information from professionals; (4) the desire to use natural remedies first with outside care being sought when deemed necessary; (5) barriers to seeking professional healthcare were mainly related to cost, time, and provider attitudes; (6) maintenance of a good diet, being active and having good dental care were important preventative activities; and (7) expectation of respect, engagement and caring from providers.

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