Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Richard Roberts


This study looked at the health beliefs of Maori who live in Utah, U.S. and examined what ways those beliefs have evolved from traditional Maori health beliefs. It also looked at the conditions and indicators of those conditions that maintain those health beliefs. A New Zealand study found that Maori older than age 45 years were more likely to have traditional health beliefs, whereas Maori younger than age 45 were more likely to have western-based health beliefs. Using grounded theory, the narratives--from two groups, younger or older than 45 years, where each group was composed of eight randomly selected participants--were collected and analyzed. It was found that all participants held traditional Maori health beliefs. Those beliefs were compatible with the construct of the Maori health model as presented in Te Whare Tapa Wha. This Maori model, along with participants, presented health as holistic, comprising components of physical, mental, spiritual, and family. Participants perceived health as having all four elements interconnected, with spirituality being the key element that binds all the others. Conditions that maintained this belief were time in country; acculturation, with racism possibly providing resistance to that condition; enculturation; and spirituality. Participants' spirituality was the key condition of maintaining their Maori health belief that is presented in this study. Enculturation, as a necessary but insufficient condition of Maori health beliefs, was based on indicators of opportunity, location, family, and social support and how these indicators play out over the life course of individuals. The most important indicator for enculturation was family or other social support for individuals to engage in Maori cultural activities.




This work made publicly available electronically on August 2, 2010.