Changes in Disease Perception, Coping Strategies and Diagnoses in the Case of First and Fourth Generations of Turkish Migrants in Germany


  • Jan Ilhan Kizilhan


This study examines to what extent subjective illness concepts and symptoms of Turkish patients in Germany have changed over 40 years. Two groups of patients of Turkish origin from psychosomatic clinics in Germany took part in the study, the first group made up of 690 patients from the "first generation" of migrants and the second group comprising 350 patients from the "fourth generation". The study was conducted using standardised interviews (The sociodemographic questionnaire, IPQ, COPE, BDI, SCL-90-R). Differences were found in essential aspects of subjective illness perception and illness coping strategies as well as in the diagnosis of psychological illness. The fourth generation of Turkish patients that were born and have grown up in Germany showed more problem-oriented behaviour regarding their coping strategies and less use of dysfunctional strategies for treatment than patients of the first generation. The findings of the present study are important for treating Turkish patients and patients of Turkish origin suffering from psychological disorders since they indicate that their disease perception, coping strategies and diagnoses undergo changes in the course of generations. Hitherto these differences were not taken into account in treatment; in the future we should be moving towards customised treatment in order to achieve better therapeutic effects.