Researchers have long held that fatalism (the belief in a lack of personal power or control over destiny or fate) constitutes a major barrier to participation in positive health behaviors and, subsequently, adversely affects health outcomes. In this article, we present two in-depth, ethnographic studies of rural women's health decisions surrounding cancer treatments to illustrate the complexity and contestability of the long-established fatalism construct. Narrative analyses suggest that for these women, numerous and complex factors-including inadequate access to health services, a legacy of self-reliance, insufficient privacy, combined with a culturally acceptable idiom of fatalism-foster the use of, but not necessarily a rigid conviction in, the notion of fatalism.
|Number of pages
|Medical Anthropology Quarterly
|Published - Jun 2011
- Health decisions
ASJC Scopus subject areas