A Pilot Study of the Experience of Physical Activity among Thai Women in Oregon

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Yupawan Thongtanunam, RN, MNS
School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR

Learning Objective 1: understand how Thai working woman as an immigrant in Oregon defined physical activity and what their benefits of and barriers to be physically active are.

Learning Objective 2: explore the effectiveness of using MI to improve perceived self-efficacy, benefits and barriers, and social support for exercise among Thai working women in Oregon.

Purposes/Aims were to explore experiences of physical activity (PA) among Thai working women and effects of Motivational Interviewing (MI) in increasing their perceived benefits and barriers, self-efficacy, and social support for being physically active.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the major cause of death in women. It is increasing as life expectancy continues to increase and economies become more industrialized. Even support for the potential benefits of PA in prevention of CVD is increasingly clear, some women still report low PA. Middle-age-Thai-working-women face the shifting roles of women as well as bio-psycho-socio-cultural changes, including living in a different culture and environment as an immigrant. Understanding their experience of PA helps health care providers to create successful programs to increase women’s PA, and reduce their risk of CVD. MI as a proven method to increase health behavior has been used to understand and increase women’s physical activity.

Methods An exploratory, pre-post design was used. Thirteen-physically-inactive women aged 48 – 62 were participated. Three-session-MI was used to encourage increasing their PA. Pair t-tests were used to examine the changes in perceived benefits and barriers, self-efficacy, and social support before and after receiving MI. The Thematic analysis was also used to analyze the qualitative data from the interviews.

Results PA was defined as participating in exercise classes, recreational activities, walking, working, sporting, and walking meditation. Their perceived barriers were no time, no friends, no motivation, not their first priority, no clue to start exercise, job characteristics, financial problems, shy to wear sport suits, and weather. Women reported higher scores of perceived benefits and barriers, perceived social support, and perceived self-efficacy after MI intervention, but only self-efficacy showed a statistically significant difference between pre-and post-intervention.

Implications Health care providers can use MI to understand and promote PA among middle-age women through increasing their self-efficacy.