Date of Award

2006-03-01

Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Dr. Mary Jo Clark, PhD, RN Chairperson; Dr. Patricia Roth, EdD, RN member; Dr. Anita Hunter, PhD, RN member

Keywords

Arab-Muslims, grounded theory, health promotion practices, immigrants, men, nursing, perceptions

Abstract

The Arab Muslim population is one of the dramatically increasing minorities in the United States. In addition to other factors, gender, religion and cultural background influence individuals' beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes to health and illness. Little is known about Arab American male immigrants, how they perceive illness, how they promote their health, and the stressors they experience and barriers they face in accessing the American health care system. The purpose of this study was to develop knowledge about the male Arab-Muslims' health perceptions and health promotion perceptions and practices. This qualitative exploratory study used a grounded theory approach to gain an understanding of Arab Muslim men's health perceptions and practices within their cultural context. The research participants were 20 Arab-Muslim men living in Orange County, California. Participants took part in one of four focus groups, conducted in the personal residences of some participants. Each group lasted from one and a half to two hours. Data analysis occurred concurrently with data collection. Tape recordings of each focus group were transcribed immediately, and additional notes were made regarding the date, the time, and the place of the discussion, the age of the participants, other personal and situational characteristics, and events associated with the discussion. The model presented in this study provides a comprehensive and unique view of health that is particularly pertinent to a subculture living in the United States. The dimensions of health presented in this view include the ability to function, engagement in healthy behaviors, the absence of disease, the sense of control, feelings of spiritual well-being, and body/mind integration. Participants in this study identified several factors that influence their health and their ability to engage in healthful behaviors. These factors can be categorized as behavioral forces, mental/psychological forces, social forces, and health system forces. This model presents the experiences of American Arab Muslims males and reflects the stressors they experience, including immigration stressors, family responsibilities, and cultural strain. It also demonstrates how these stressors may affect the health and health-related behaviors of this target population. In order to close the gap between the health of minority and majority populations, an in-depth understanding of health perceptions and health promotion beliefs and practices among immigrant populations in the United States should be used to provide culturally-sensitive health care and health promotion services.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access

Department

Nursing

Included in

Nursing Commons

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