225539 Do African American college students recognize and cope with the threat of diabetes?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM

Corliss Allen, MPH , Institute of Public Health, Florida A & M University, Sandy Springs, GA
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
Fei Tan, PhD , Institute of Public Health, Florida A & M University, Tallahassee, FL
Background: Diabetes places a tremendous burden of health inequity on US African American women. Behavioral risk factors for diabetes underscore the importance of determining to what extent African American college students are motivated to adhere to protective behaviors that may decrease the likelihood of diabetes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate threat and coping appraisal of diabetes among African American females enrolled in college, using the Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) as a theoretical framework. Methods: Written surveys were administered to 128 African-American females between the ages of 18 and 25 who were enrolled at Florida A & M University, the nation's largest historically Black university. Multiple linear regressions were performed to determine associations between protection motivation factors (coping and threat appraisals), diabetes knowledge, and demographic characteristics. Results: Statistically significant associations were found between the demographic and knowledge of diabetes variables, and the coping appraisal process. Significant associations were not found with the threat appraisal variables. Further, there was a significant relationship among the maladaptive response of the PMT model between dietary intake levels and perceived severe diabetes threat. Conclusions: For this sample of African American female students, efforts that articulate active coping strategies may be more effective than those that focus on threat perception. Culturally competent and age appropriate nutrition, physical activity and diabetes education should be increased, given the high percentage of misconceptions about health protection behaviors among study participants. Continuous health education interventions and research focusing on African American women of college age are needed.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. List behavioral risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus. 2. Describe the Protection Motivation Theory constructs. 3. Identify protective behaviors of African American college women. 4. Discuss misconceptions about diabetes among an African American college-aged female sample.

Keywords: Diabetes, African American

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.