142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Cultural Consensus and Environmental Risk Behavior: Using Transdisciplinary Research to Investigate Health Risk Behaviors of First-Time Mothers

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chris Mundorf, MPH , Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Maureen Y. Lichtveld, MD, MPH , Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Women in Gulf Coast communities face acute and chronic environmental stressors, and a historic burden of inadequate access to healthcare.  Health risks may arise from differential appraisals of environmental stressors, and subsequent health behaviors.  While culture undoubtedly influences this process, few studies have applied sophisticated methods from anthropology to public health to assess this phenomenon.  This study uses mixed methods and theories from cognitive anthropology to examine the cultural models about environmental risk perception, and health behavior among first-time mothers living in culturally diverse communities on the Gulf Coast.  Using a cultural domain analysis (n=20) approach, separate cultural models were constructed concering risk perception.  Three questionnaires were then developed from the collected data, and a Cultural Consensus Analysis (n=200) provided a rigorous test of the degree to which these perceptions were shared.  A culturally-relevant answer key to each survey questions was then generated.  Analysis also revealed the level of cultural agreement among mothers. Cultural beliefs were then examined to determine how first-time mothers in the Gulf Coast perceive different environmental hazards, deploy behaviors to mitigate those risks, and access sources of support and information in the community. A more detailed explanation of the cultural influences on vital risk appraisals among these mothers will allow for locally-tailored interventions. Culture drives risk behavior and perception, and incorporating theories and practices from multiple academic disciplines will help to apply innovative solutions to the health risks of first-time mothers.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the use of transdisciplinary methods to tackle a public health problem Evaluate the cultural beliefs of first-time mothers, as they relate to risk behaviors

Keyword(s): Maternal and Child Health, Cultural Competency

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This topic comes from work from a section of my doctoral dissertation. I have lead the study research, design, and data collection. The issue of culture and environmental risk behavior has been the focus of my PhD and previous Masters studies.
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.