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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Food Surveys Research Group » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #182417


item Chester, Deirdra
item Himburg, Susan
item Weatherspoon, Lorraine

Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/6/2006
Publication Date: 7/6/2006
Citation: Chester, D.N., Himburg, S., Weatherspoon, L. 2006. Spirituality of African American Women: Correlations to health promoting behaviors. Journal of National Black Nurses Association. 17(1):1-8.

Interpretive Summary: In this era of increasing health care costs and increased prevalence of chronic disease, especially in minority populations, providing quality preventive health care is a necessity. Emphasis must be placed on finding appropriate avenues for women to access and utilize health promoting information. Sociodemographic, anthropometric, dietary, exercise, and spirituality data were collected in this descriptive cross-sectional correlational study collected to answer two primary research questions: What is the role of spirituality in impacting the health promoting behaviors (diet and exercise) of African-American women? Among the independent variables of spirituality, sociodemographics, and BMI, which are the best predictors of diet and exercise? The independent variables were chosen to determine their influence as potential predictors for diet and exercise patterns in this group of women. Spirituality was chosen as an independent variable to determine if these women’s spirituality affected their diet and exercise habits. Similarly, BMI was chosen because the focus was not weight loss but to determine if BMI was a determinant of diet and exercise activities. From this analysis, it was shown that health promoting behavior intervention protocols should focus on ways to improve the stress management, health responsibility, spiritual growth, interpersonal relations, and self-esteem of participants along with a message of diet and exercise. The study findings are useful to nutritionist and researchers working with African American women at risk of chronic disease.

Technical Abstract: Public health data show that African-Americans have not adopted health-promoting behaviors of diet and exercise. In an effort to find other motivating or moderating variables, this study was designed to determine how spirituality relates to health promoting behaviors in African-American women. Burkhardt’s theoretical framework for spirituality is referred to as harmonious interconnectedness. This was adopted and measures were selected for the three elements of the framework: connectedness with self, others, and environment. African-American women (n=286) residing in Florida between 18 – 82 years of age completed questionnaires: Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale, Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile II, Spiritual Perspective Scale, Brief Block Food Frequency, and socio-demographic information. Hierarchical multivariate multiple regression identified 40% of the variability of diet to be explained by sociodemographic (education) and spirituality variables (stress management and health responsibility) (p<.001). Twenty-nine percent of the variability of exercise was explained by socio-demographic (education) and spirituality variables (stress management) (p<.001). Canonical correlation analysis identified a significant pair of canonical variables which indicated those individuals with good nutrition (.95), physical activity (.79), and healthy eating (.42) are associated with stress management (.88), health responsibility (.67), spiritual growth (.66), interpersonal relations (.50), education (.49), and self-esteem (.33). The set explained 57% of the variability (p<.001). Attendance at health educational seminars was not common, but using church or social group venues to reach this audience was successful. Incorporating the message of spirituality along with health promoting behaviors is recommended.