151525 Influence of marianismo beliefs on physical activity of young immigrant Latinas

Monday, November 5, 2007: 11:00 AM

Karen T. D'Alonzo, PhD RN , APNC , College of Nursing, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, NJ
There are marked declines in physical activity among young women, beginning in adolescence and continuing through young adulthood. This decline is more profound among immigrant Hispanic women and places them at significantly higher risk for the development of chronic illnesses, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. Various reasons have been given to explain the lack of physical activity among these women. Latinas are often socialized into placing family needs above their own throughout their lives, a construct referred to as marianismo. Marianismo beliefs may serve as a barrier to self-care and may contribute to depressive symptoms and low self-efficacy for exercise. Community participation models appear to hold much promise to assist such women to become empowered to adopt health promotion behaviors. The primary aims of this qualitative study were to: 1) examine the attitudes and beliefs of a group of young Latinas with regard to physical activity and 2) integrate relevant findings into a pilot physical activity intervention for Latinas using a Freirian model of empowerment. Culture circles (focus groups), each comprised of 8-10 women, met for two sessions. Questions were guided by Freire's modes of “listening” and “dialog” and were designed to: 1) explicate the meaning of community as experienced by Hispanic women; 2) identify health issues of concern to Hispanic women; 3) explore the perception of sedentarism as a problem for Hispanic women and 4) identify barriers to physical activity, particularly mariansmo beliefs, within the Latina community. Spradley's ethnographic analysis guided examination of the transcripts.

Learning Objectives:
At the end of the presentation the participants will be able to: 1. Describe the role of marianismo beliefs on physical activity of young immigrant Latinas. 2. Discuss the Freirian model of empowerment as it is utilized in a physical activity intervention for Latinas. 3. Replicate a similar study based on Freirian methodology of culture circles in their settings.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Latinas

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.