4009.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - Board 8

Abstract #9249

Perceptions of Appalachian women in seven states on tobacco prevention and family health

Michael G. Meyer and Mary A. Toborg, MPA. Toborg Associates, Inc, 1325 Eighteenth Street, NW, Suite 207, Washington, DC 20036-6501, 202-776-0112, mmeyer@toborg.net

Objective: An understanding of the attitudes and perceptions of Appalachian women toward the prevention of tobacco use within the family, in order to develop culturally congruent tobacco education materials that address them in their role as the guardians of family health.

Method: Seventy women from the Appalachian portions of seven states participated in nine focus groups on tobacco and family health. Focus groups in Meigs County, OH (n=9); Clay County, KY (n=8); and Cherokee County, AL (n=6) explored participants’ attitudes toward their children’s tobacco use. Focus groups in Jackson County, WV (n=6); Perry County, KY (n=9); and Walker County, GA (n=8) examined attitudes toward secondhand smoke. Focus groups in Greene County, PA (n=7); Mingo County, WV (n=9); and Buncombe County, NC (n=8)assessed possibilities to help the women’s family members to quit tobacco use.

Results: In Appalachia, women generally assume responsibility for family health. Family is important, and older family members will change health-related behaviors, including tobacco use, to benefit younger family members. The women often felt inadequate to talk to their children about tobacco, although they do not want them to use it. There is widespread readiness, even in tobacco growing regions, to forego smoking around infants and children.

Discussion: The research indicates the need for health education materials and efforts that appeal to a positive parental role; encourage parents to change their own unhealthful behaviors to protect their families; and recognize, encourage, and support a maternal role in prevention efforts.

Learning Objectives: Participants at the end of the session will be able to: 1. Define an approach to health education in Appalachia that relies upon the central importance of nuclear and extended family and the unique influence of women over the family's health-related behaviors. 2. Identify seven groups of women in Appalachia who require different approaches to address their needs in family tobacco prevention. 3. Recognize cultural influences in tobacco prevention messages developed for different groups within Appalachia, including at-risk youth, persons who smoke around infants and children, and tobacco users

Keywords: Tobacco, Rural Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Toborg Associates, Inc. 1325 Eighteenth Street, N.W., Suite 207 Washington, D.C. 20036-6501
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: president of the firm

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA