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Effects of a culturally focused womenís wellness program for a southwest American Indian Tribe

Norma Gray, PhD1, Mary Mays, PhD2, Denise E. Wolf, MPH1, and Janice Jirsak1. (1) Health Promotion Sciences, University of Arizona Mel & Enid Zuckerman Arizona College of Public Health, 48 N. Tucson Blvd., Suite 101A, Tucson, AZ 85716, (520) 795-1898, ngray@u.arizona.edu, (2) Family and Community Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine, 48 N. Tucson Blvd., Suite 101A, Tucson, AZ 85716

This womenís wellness program was developed with the participation of Tribal elders and health department staff. With a foundation of Tribal culture and history, the ten classes focus on empowering women to increase their wellness, self-nurturance, and coping skills. Ninety-seven percent of the participants were American Indian, with 8% also identifying as Hispanic. Their average age was 31 and the majority (75%) was unemployed. Participants were randomly assigned to either education only (E; n=46) classes or education plus skills practice (ES; n=47) classes. Participants were interviewed prior to attending class. Interviews focused on social issues in their lives and included several standard instruments that measured self-reported symptoms of depression, self-esteem, American Indian identity, drinking behavior, and confidence in resisting alcohol use. Participants were interviewed again immediately after completing the classes and every three months thereafter for one year. During the first 19 months of the project, 165 women entered the program, 133 (81%) completed classes, and 93 (70%) completed a three-month follow-up interview. Statistical analyses of change from baseline to follow-up were conducted on those 93 to obtain information about the short-term effectiveness of the program. There were no statistically significant interactions of group by time, indicating that the short-term effectiveness of the E and ES programs was equivalent. Participants showed statistically significant increases in self-esteem (p < 0.001), decreases in depressive symptoms (p < 0.001), increases in their confidence in their ability to resist alcohol use (p < 0.001), and decreases in the intensity of drinking behavior (p < 0.01).

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to

    Keywords: American Indians, Women's Health

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    Native Women Health

    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA