Demographic Differences in Health Promoting Behaviors among Military Spouses

Monday, 18 November 2013: 10:20 AM

Diane Padden, PhD, CRNP, FAANP1
Janice B. Griffin Agazio, RN, PhD, CPNP, FAANP (LTC, Ret, USA)2
Della W. Stewart, PhD, RNC, MEd, MSN, BS, ADN3
Sheena M. Posey, MS, BS1
Nancy M. Steele, PhD, RNC, WHNP, MSN, BS, ADN4
(1)Graduate School of Nursing, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD
(2)The Catholic University, Washington, DC
(3)NA, US Army Nurse Corps, Retired, Fayetteville, NC
(4)Center for Nurse Science & Clinical Inquiry, US Army Nurse Corps, Ft. Bragg, NC

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe participation in health behaviors of different socio-demographic groups among military spouses

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify at risk groups to target education and interventions to increase participation in a healthy lifestyle

Introduction:  Health behaviors and preventative actions have a significant influence on health status and reduce the risk of many health conditions and chronic diseases. Military service members and their families experience challenges similar to the general population in terms of improving overall health despite universal access to care. Additionally, they face challenges that are unique to military life that influence their participation in health promoting behaviors.

Purpose: The overall purpose of this research was to determine factors influencing participation in health promoting behaviors in military spouses. A secondary purpose was to explore socio-demographic differences and health promoting behaviors among military spouses, which is the focus of this presentation.

Methodology: Pender’s Health Promotion Model provided the theoretical framework to guide this cross-sectional, descriptive correlational study.  Eight hundred and seven female spouses of active duty military personnel completed an online survey consisting of the Perceived Health Competence Scale, Personal Resource Questionnaire, Perceived Stress Scale, Health Promotion Lifestyle Profile II and a demographic questionnaire. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics, independent sample t-tests, and one-way ANOVA.

Results: Significant differences were found between age groups, BMI category, ethnicity, education level and rank groups. Military spouses within normal weight scored higher on overall health promoting lifestyle (F (3, 798) = 13.44, p = .001) than overweight and obese spouses. Caucasian spouses scored significantly higher than Hispanic spouses (F (5, 801) = 3.66, p = .003). Spouses with some college scored significantly lower than spouses with an undergraduate degree (F (4, 801) = 4.18, p= .002).

Discussion/Conclusion: Multiple differences were identified among demographic characteristics and participation in health promoting behaviors.  These findings will be beneficial in identification of at-risk groups and targeted educational efforts by health care providers to increase participation in a healthy lifestyle in this unique population.