• consumer attitudes;
  • health promotion;
  • lay perspectives;
  • patient attitudes



To examine the perceptions of disease aetiology and the effect of own behaviour on health among poly-pharmacy patients with non-Western backgrounds in Denmark.


The study was based on 26 extended medication reviews with patients of non-Western backgrounds aged 50+ who use at least four prescription drugs regularly. The reviews were conducted by 12 pharmacists with the same mother-tongue background as the participants. The reviews included patient interviews on which the data in this article are based. In total, four open-ended questions from the patient interviews were analysed by the means of Giorgi's phenomenological method.

Key findings

The analysis shows that stress was most commonly perceived as the cause of the participants' diseases for reasons that included (1) having left their country of origin and family, (2) worry over the political situation in their country of origin and (3) the problems involved in living as an immigrant in Denmark. Most of the participants perceived their own efforts as having little impact on their own health status, although some participants considered them as having considerable influence.


To a great extent, the explanations of the participants about possible disease aetiology are focused on stress, immigration and psychological well-being. Although many participants perceived that their own efforts did not have much impact on their health status, our study revealed a large diversity in the responses of non-Western immigrants, particularly regarding the importance of their own efforts on their health status.