The Health Beliefs of Old Order Mennonite Women in Rural Ontario, Canada

Ewa M. Dabrowska, Judy Bates


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore women's health issues in a closed, ethno-religious Old Order Mennonite (OOM) community in rural Ontario, Canada. This is the first time that conservative OOM women from this community, who speak Pennsylvania Deutsch, a High German dialect, have participated in health research. The theoretical framework of "place effects" on health is used to examine how OOM women perceive their health in an environmentally contaminated area. The authors conclude that the belief system and attachment to place developed through the religious socialization of these rural OOM women have created a presumed sanctified space protected from the health effects of a highly contaminated environment. They refer to this phenomenon as "belief-informed place effects."

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