A qualitative analysis of health promotion among older African Americans

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Christine Williams - Committee Chair


Disparities in health have placed African American elders at risk for poor health outcomes. African American elders suffer from disproportionate rates of morbidity and mortality. Health promotion activities aimed at reducing health risk have not been widely studied and require further understanding.The purpose of this ethnographic content analysis was to investigate the health-promoting lifestyle behaviors of community dwelling African American elders, 65 years of age and older. Research questions were (1) what knowledge do African Americans elders possess about health promotion, (2) what beliefs do older African Americans have about health promotion, (3) what attitudes do African Americans elders hold regarding participation in health promotion activities, (4) what barriers to participation in health promotion exist for African American elders, and (5) what specific health promotion activities do African Americans engage in. Pender, Mardaugh, and Parson (2006) and Leininger and MacFarland (2005) provided the theoretical framework for the present study.The core theme "I wanna' be in more control" was described by four themes and 17 subthemes. The four themes identified were, "Childhood: When I was a child, I was healthy---ain't nothing bothered me," "Health knowledge: If you got your health you can do anything," "Health behavior: I try my best to...," and "Health outcomes: Growing old does not mean you have to give up on life." Overall, participants described wanting to be in control of their health. Spirituality, learned behavior in childhood, and herbal remedies were described as uniquely important to maintaining health among African American elders.


Health Sciences, Nursing; Health Sciences, Public Health

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