202997 “Making us feel welcomed”: Developing and implementing a women's health promotion program that incorporates the experience of lived mothering

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Danielle D. Durham, MPH , The Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence, Cary, NC
Tracy R. Nichols, PhD , Department of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
Studies have shown that social support may positively influence many health outcomes through protection from the adverse consequences of stress. Juggling daily tasks, mothering creates stress and often increases women's isolation. Support groups exist for specialized groups of mothers such as new mothers and mothers of special needs children; however, few programs exist for mothers of older children. This presentation describes the development and implementation of a community-based women's health promotion program. Moms For Moms (M4M) provides women who are actively mothering a place to connect with other mothers—regardless of their children's age or health status—and form a social support and networking group as a way to explore healthy practices and reduce the stresses of daily life. Using analysis of focus groups (N=3) and interviews (N=16) with predominately low-income and working-class mothers of color, this presentation identifies and discusses challenges and benefits women attributed to mothering as well as mothers' preferred program content and logistics. Participants stressed the importance of incorporating mothers' active involvement in both planning and administering the program and were particularly interested in the use of innovative technologies to break down the recognized barrier of mothers' isolation. They found mothering to be rewarding but struggled with parenting as children aged. The presentation describes the use of in-depth interviews, focus groups, electronic diaries, and a community agency partnership to incorporate mothers' suggestions and lived experiences into salient health promotion programming. Implications for incorporating social support models and participatory methods into women's health promotion programming are discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the benefits of incorporating social support models into women’s health promotion programming; 2. Discuss approaches to needs assessments in health promotion programming; 3. Discuss the use of participatory methods in the design of women’s health promotion programming.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: MPH Community health, research women's health and lived experience
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.