Author Identifier

Diana Arabiat

ORCID : 0000-0003-2325-0398

Lisa Whitehead

ORCID : 0000-0002-6395-0279

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare


Dove Press


School of Nursing and Midwifery / Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Services Research




Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme 2021

University of Jordan in Amman / Jordan


Arabiat, D., Whitehead, L., Jabery, M. A., Hamdan-Mansour, A., Shaheen, A., & Sabbah, E. A. (2021). Beliefs about illness and treatment decision modelling during ill-health in Arabic families. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 14, 1755-1768.


Background: The use of self-prescribed antibiotics and other unproven herbal remedies is common in the Arab world. Understanding how family members decide to manage illness is an important priority for health care providers.

Purpose: This paper presents a new model that can be viewed as an extension to the Health Belief Model and help clarifies the cognitive processes families use to manage illness in an Arab family in Jordan. It aims to generate an understanding of family beliefs about the causes of illness and appraisal of how best to manage illness in an Arab family.

Methods: A qualitative approach using a family interview method was used to collect data. Twenty-five families participated in semi-structured interviews designed to elicit representational models of illness and treatment-decisions.

Results: Thematic analysis revealed two forms of intertwined beliefs: core beliefs (fatalistic) and secondary beliefs (biomedical, supernatural and situational beliefs). Four key elements were identified as underpinning the involvement of family in treatment decision: perceived threat of illness, efficacy of treatment option, cost or availability and family prior experience.

Conclusion: An understanding of the health belief model and related cognitive appraisal processes used by families may assist health care providers to engage with and overcome some of the social, cultural, and structural variables that could influence how family members decide to manage illness in Jordan.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License