227887 Women's perspectives on neighborhoods and healthcare

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Amy B. Dailey, PhD, MPH , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Jamie Humphrey, MPH , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Anita Davis, BA , Institute for Health, Policy and Evaluation Research, Duval County Health Department, Jacksonville, FL
Background. Although the evidence supporting an association between neighborhoods and healthcare (e.g. mammography screening) is growing, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Objective. Using qualitative research methods we sought to understand how neighborhoods influence women's healthcare seeking behaviors, with a focus on mammography screening. Methodology. We conducted three focus groups of women (primarily minority race/ethnicity) of mammography screening age living in two areas of Jacksonville, FL (Group 1: n=7; Group 2: n=8; Group 3: n=2). Participants were asked about the role of neighborhoods in their lives, the social and material resources associated with neighborhoods, and neighborhood-related barriers to healthcare seeking behaviors, such as mammography screening. Results. Although women described neighborhoods as a place of comfort, support and extended family, some women used these terms to describe an ideal neighborhood, rather than describing their realities. One theme that emerged was concerns over reductions in informal social control in neighborhoods (e.g. adults not feeling comfortable speaking up to others' children engaging in poor behavior). Regardless of perceived neighborhood social cohesion, most women viewed their health (such as getting a mammogram) as personal and not something they share with neighbors. Yet many women agreed that with increased neighborhood social support (e.g. helping each other with child supervision) and access to resources, logistical barriers to accessing healthcare may be ameliorated and exchange of healthcare information may increase. Conclusion. Efforts to increase social and material resources in neighborhoods could have positive impacts on healthcare seeking behaviors, contributing to reductions in socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in health.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain some of the neighborhood barriers that women perceive to impact their health care seeking behavior. 2. Discuss the potential impact that intervening on neighborhood barriers could have in womenís lives.

Keywords: Social Inequalities, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I'm an assistant professor at the University of Florida doing research on the social determinants of cancer outcomes in women.
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.