218109 Using liberation psychology to enhance the capacity for teen mothers who smoke to make health changes

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 12:30 PM - 12:50 PM

Colleen MacQuarrie, PhD , Department of Psychology, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, Canada
Emily Rutledge , Psychology, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, Canada
Lorraine Begley, Coordinator of Studies , Psychology, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, Canada
This presentation describes a pilot study that utilized the theory and practices of liberation psychology with a group of young mothers who were pregnant during their teenage years and who smoke. Our previous research has implicated tobacco usage as a flag for oppression and affirms the social disadvantage impacts on health articulated by other researchers at multiple levels from the personal to the structural. As such smoking serves a purpose in women's lives that is intimately linked to their everyday experiences and is part of the functional coping that some marginalized populations use. This image is not part of the mainstream communication about tobacco usage. The popular and paradoxical notions of ‘choice' and ‘addiction' appear to be serving the needs of the tobacco industry particularly well for marginalized populations. The theory and practice of liberation psychology considers the social, cultural, environmental, and political contexts within which these women live and how the impact of context affects their health in a range of ways. Utilizing liberation psychology's dialogical methodology over a six week period the group engaged in a variety of processes of examining the strengths and the oppressions existing within the context of their lives at the personal, the community, and the structural levels. Drawing power from the group, participants made changes in their health contexts and behaviours that far exceeded smoking . Participants demonstrated an emerging understanding of the impact of context on their health and the need to address context at personal, community, and structural levels.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Learners will be able to define liberation psychology, describe how a liberation psychology course is structured and demonstrate knowledge of group dialogical processes as tools to improve health among marginalized people.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Smoking

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I undertake academic research in liberation psychology with various populations in Canada including pregnant teens who smoke, the Labrador Metis Nation, and rural women who experienced violence.
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.