271962 What does my future look like? A Photovoice study of the barriers and facilitators identified by African American urban teens

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 1:26 PM - 1:30 PM

Linda Jiang, BA , Public Health, Acadia University, Newark, DE
Elizabeth O'Neill , Family & Community Medicine, Center for Community Health, Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, DE
Stephanie Rogers, RN , Obstetrics and Gynecology, Christiana Care Health System, Newark, DE
Deborah Ehrenthal, MD, MPH , Obstetrics and Gynecology and Internal Medicine, Christiana Care Health System, Newark, DE
The leading causes of death among adolescents in the United States are unintentional accidents, followed by homicide, and suicide; the major causes of morbidity are related to substance use, sexual and reproductive health, and obesity. Community and public health interventions targeting youth often focus on strategies designed to reduce risky behaviors and encourage healthy lifestyles. However these programs may not address the most visible and immediate concerns of teens. Moreover, interventions often focus on individuals and peers, but do not address factors at the community and institutional level. An understanding of the influence of community and institutional factors in shaping the life course of teens may identify new approaches and improve the effectiveness of interventions. Using the community-based participatory research method Photovoice, we captured the experiences of 18 African American high school students living in an urban community in the US. The students photographed and described both facilitators and barriers to their future at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, community, institutional and policy levels. Intrapersonal strengths and community barriers dominated their photographs and discussions. Teens expressed their views that individual characteristics, such as self-reliance and self-motivation, determine future success. In addition, completing a high school education, support from their community centers, and the presence of caring adults/mentors were identified as important facilitators to their futures. Teens identified concerns about the safety of their community, a need for role models and mentoring, and the absence of males/fathers as major barriers. Gun violence, gambling, and prescription drug and alcohol addiction, were identified as community norms and specific barriers to obtaining their future goals. They also expressed caution about life events, peer pressure and “limits” as influences that could derail a positive future. These photos, with their titles and captions, were brought together as a film for presentation to local policy makers.

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

Learning Objectives:
Describe the individual facilitators and barriers reported by African American urban teens that impact their future. List concrete actions suggested by teens to support their future goals.

Keywords: Adolescents, Photovoice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Director of Health Services Research for Women and Children at a large academic commuity hospital and completed a master in public health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health. I have published qualitative research studies in peer-reviewed journals as well as epidemiologic research in maternal and child health.
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.

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