Immigrants, as compared to the native German population, differ in their health behavior and health care usage. Aside from social factors, culture and religion play an important role. They influence the perceived meaning and the appraisal of a disease as well as the choice of coping strategies. This can be related to a reduced access to health care. Taking Turkish-Muslim and Kurdish-Yezidi patients as an example, we show the need for health care that is sensitive to religion and culture. A huge heterogeneity as regards culture and religion is evident even within single nationality groups. Thus, health care needs can also differ between people originating from the same country. Current models for coping strategies among patients do not sufficiently consider culture and religion in the context of migration. We describe how illness perceptions and health behaviors are influenced by these constructs and derive implications for the health care of immigrants and cultural minorities. If cultural and religious characteristics are considered in clinical practice as part of a diversity management, health care can be provided according to the patients' needs.
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