Perceived cultural distance in healthcare in immigrant intercultural medical encounters

Somayeh Alizadeh*, Meena Chavan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


This article responds to the paucity of empirical research on the impact of patient-provider ethno-cultural distance and providers' cultural competence on the quality of healthcare service in migrant intercultural medical encounters in Australia. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 447 patients, consisting of 195 Caucasian and 252 non-Caucasian patients from six outpatient clinics in New South Wales, Australia. Structural equation modelling was used for data analysis. The findings demonstrated that cultural distance is an influential factor in perceived quality of outpatient care. Caucasian and non-Caucasian patients' perception of cultural distance between their physicians and themselves affected their service quality ratings of their physicians' professionalism, empathy and expertise. This is the first study on healthcare service quality in outpatient clinics in Australia for Caucasian and non-Caucasian patients. Policy implications suggest intervention strategies and the need for cultural competence education in medical and health curricula in medical schools and clinical practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-254
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Migration
Issue number4
Early online date10 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2019 The Authors. International Migration published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Organization for Migration. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Migrant health
  • Cultural Distance
  • Health care in Australia
  • Service quality
  • Outpatient clinics


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