206032 Obstructive Sleep Apnea Disparity among Truck Drivers: Danger For All On American Roads

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Felicia N. Green, MPH , HealthSouth Sleep Disorders Center, Tallahassee, FL
Ivette A. López, PhD, MPH , Institute of Public Health, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL
Tonetta Y. Scott, MPH , Institute of Public Health, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL
Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common sleeping disorder in the United States, is a growing public health problem that affects a large percentage of middle-aged male adults who work as commercial truck drivers. According to the National Institute of Health, obstructive sleep apnea affects more than 12 million people. Prevalence of sleep disordered breathing and excessive sleepiness among commercial truck drivers is high. As a result between 20-30% of accidents involving commercial drivers are estimated to be sleep related. This study sought to identify obstructive sleep apnea knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs amongst commercial truck drivers, guided by the Health Belief Model.

Method: This qualitative study employed semi-structured in-depth interviews. Thirteen male commercial truck drivers who resided in Leon County, Florida were interviewed to detect their perceptions regarding OSA. The interviews were transcribed verbatim, and analyzed with QSR N'VIVO.

Results: Themes regarding the driver's: understanding of OSA signs and symptoms, sources of information and education, risk self awareness, and perceived consequences of OSA were richly clarified and contextualized.

Conclusions: The truck driver's understanding of OSA unveiled in this study provided insights to develop health education recommendations. Based on these recommendations, much needed interventions for this specific population can be developed. Further, the study can inform and support necessary public health policies that may protect lives on American roads.

Learning Objectives:
Define signs and symptoms for OSA. Describe the occupational health disparity OSA represents for truck drivers. List strategies and recommendations for the health education of truck drivers regarding OSA

Keywords: Health Disparities, Health Education Strategies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I did the research study, data collection, and analysis under the guidance of my advisor, Dr. Ivette Lopez, as partial fulfillment for my MPH degree.
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.