Health susceptibility perceptions among Iranian, Afghan and Tajik minorities in three Nordic countries

Hamed Ahmadinia*, Jannica Heinström, Kristina Eriksson-Backa, Shahrokh Nikou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Purpose: This research paper aims to delve into the perceptions of health susceptibility among Iranian, Afghan and Tajik individuals hailing from asylum-seeking or refused asylum-seeking backgrounds currently residing in Finland, Norway and Sweden. Design/methodology/approach: Semi-structured interviews were conducted between May and October 2022 involving a sample size of 27 participants. An adapted framework based on the health belief model along with previous studies served as a guide for formulating interview questions. Findings: Notably influenced by cultural background, religious beliefs, psychological states and past traumatic experiences during migration journeys – before arrival in these countries till settling down – subjects’ perception of health concerns emerged significantly shaped. Additionally impacting perspectives were social standing, occupational status, personal/family medical history, lifestyle choices and dietary preferences nurtured over time, leading to varying degrees of influence upon individuals’ interpretation about their own wellness or illness. Practical implications: Insights garnered throughout the authors’ analysis hold paramount significance when it comes to developing targeted strategies catering culturally sensitive health-care provisions, alongside framing policies better aligned with primary care services tailored explicitly around singular demands posed by these specific communities dwelling within respective territories. Originality/value: This investigation represents one among few pioneering initiatives assessing perceptions regarding both physical and mental well-being within minority groups under examination across Nordic nations, unveiling complexities arising through intersecting factors like individual attributes mingling intricately with socio-cultural environments, thereby forming unique viewpoints towards health-care belief systems prevalent among such population segments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-304
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Health beliefs
  • Health beliefs and perceptions
  • Health disparities
  • Minority health
  • Nordic countries
  • Qualitative health research


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