241196 Predictors of Engagement in Health Promotion among African American churches: A pilot study

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Allysha C. Robinson, MPH , Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dept. of Health, Behavior, Society, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Khanh Nghiem, MS , Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Carolyn M. Tucker, PhD , Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
African Americans have higher rates of obesity and hypertension than all other races (CDC, 2009). Faith-based initiatives are purported to reduce such health disparities through community partnership (Hoyo et al., 2004). The proposed study identifies individual and congregation level predictors of engagement in health promotion. This study is part of a larger church-partnered health promotion program designed to reduce obesity and hypertension in the African American community via health education. Participants were pastors and church leaders (N=57) from twelve churches, who enrolled in the larger program as “health empowerment coaches” for their congregations. Participants completed measures of spirituality, religiousness, and health promoting behaviors. Focus groups identified participants' motivators and barriers for their engagement in health promoting behaviors, and for their roles as health empowerment coaches for their churches. Statistically significant correlations were found between daily spiritual experiences and physical activity (R2 = .298, p<.05); daily spiritual experiences and interpersonal relations (R2 = .298, p<.05); daily spiritual experiences and health responsibility (R2 = .397, p<.01); and health responsibility and forgiveness (R2 = .455, p<.01). Time commitment, cultural norms, and motivation were identified as barriers to engagement. Motivators included serving as community/congregation role models, and maintaining the body as a temple. Subsequent analyses will determine if these relationships between spirituality and engagement in health promotion predict reductions in blood pressure and BMI, and long-term maintenance of the program among participating churches. This study and its corollaries have important implications for faith-based initiatives aimed at reducing health disparities in the African American community.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
-Evaluate associations between dimensions of spirituality, religiousness, and engagement in health promoting behaviors -Identify individual and congregation level predictors of engagement in a church-partnered health promotion program

Keywords: African American, Faith Community

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I planned, implemented, and evaluated research on community-based interventions and culturally sensitive health care. I have also taught research methodology at a major research institution, have completed an M.P.H, and am pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Health and Social/Behavioral Sciences.
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.