Online Program

Role of culture in strategies to cope with community violence among WIC-eligible mothers in Southeast Louisiana

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Chris Mundorf, MPH, PhD, 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, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Background: Exposure to community violence is considered a public health crisis, particularly for young mothers and children. Mothers make many decisions regarding the safety of their family. However, research examining culture's influence on these decisions is limited. The purpose of this study is to document variations in the beliefs about actions to protect a family from community violence among WIC-eligible first-time mothers in Southeast Louisiana.

Methods: In a two-phase ethnographic approach, interviews with a purposive sample of thirty mothers helped identify common actions (phase 1). In phase 2, a larger sample (n=118) of mothers rated these actions. Results were analyzed through cultural consensus analysis, resulting in a quantitative estimate of cultural sharing and beliefs.

Results: Moderate agreement was found (eigenvalue ratio: >3) across all samples on an understanding of the hazards associated with community violence. Analyses segmented by relevant demographic groups showed that culture differed by region (metro vs. rural), ethnicity (Latino vs. non-Latino), and by education (completing or not completing high school). Comparisons of specific coping behavior uncovered large cultural differences in the perceived appropriateness of carrying a gun, organizing community support, and relying on the police for help.

Conclusions: This study employed a unique participant-based methodology traditionally used in cognitive anthropology to examine and compare an at-risk population’s cultural models of health behavior. Study results identify policy gaps, which can be used in partnership with key stakeholders to create more culturally-appropriate community policing strategies, and health interventions to assist at-risk mothers.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify cultural beliefs concerning community violence coping behaviors across a diverse, at-risk community of mothers. Assess the role of race and ethnicity play in cultural knowledge

Keyword(s): Cultural Competency, Violence & Injury Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: The presented data comes from my doctoral dissertation. I have been researching the topic for 4 years, and have pursued this topic as a part of a federally funded grant focusing on culture and 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.