Health Disparities of Underserved Spanish-Speaking Mexican-Americans with and without Insomnia Symptoms

Monday, 12 July 2010: 3:05 PM

Carol M. Baldwin, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN1
Mary Z. Mays, PhD2
Janice K. Jirsak, MS2
Luxana Reynaga-Ornelas, MN, RN3
Stuart F. Quan, MD4
1College of Nursing and Health Innovation; Southwest Borderlands; Director, Office of World Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
2College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
3Departamento de Enfermería y Obstetricia sede León, Universidad de Guanajuato Campus León, Division de Ciencias de la Salud, Leon. Guanajuato, Mexico
4Sleep Medicine, University of Arizona and Harvard University School of Medicine, Tucson, AZ

Learning Objective 1: distinguish between health disparities of Spanish-speaking Mexican Americans with or without insomnia symptoms compared to prevalent health conditions of Mexican Americans with insomnia.

Learning Objective 2: compare and contrast the prevalence and associated health complaints of Spanish-speaking Mexican American men and women with insomnia symptoms.

Purpose: Sleep disturbances are receiving greater recognition as a public health problem due to their high prevalence, impact on public safety, comorbid health conditions and greater healthcare utilization. Although there is an increased risk for sleep disorders among ethnic groups, little information is known about sleep and health, particularly for Spanish-speaking Mexican Americans. Methods: Spanish-speaking Mexican Americans (N=199) provided demographic, health history and sleep data derived from the Spanish-translated NIH NHLBI Sleep Heart Health Study Sleep Habits Questionnaire for use with Spanish-speaking Mexican Americans. Data were analyzed using frequencies and chi-squared tests in SPSS v16. Results: Participant demographics were 45% men, 55% women; mean age 40±13, range 18-78 years; mean education 10±4 years; 54% without insurance, 15% Medicare/ Medicaid, 31% insured; 40% with income under $10K, 26% $10-20K, 34% more than $20K/year. Leading health complaints for participants with or without insomnia were 1) dental and 2) vision problems. The prevalent health conditions for male insomniacs (n=41) were stomach acidity (30%), smoking (25%), and back pain (21%), while women insomniacs (n=35) reported allergies (27%), hypertension (24%) and stomach acidity (20%) to be their prevalent health conditions. Qualitative reports (n=34) of causes for disturbed sleep included anxiety, stress, health problems, and bed partner snoring. Conclusion: Dental and vision problems are leading health concerns for Mexican Americans with or without insomnia symptoms, underscoring the need for intervention for these health disparities. For insomniacs, other leading health problems differed by sex. Enhanced access to care for underserved Spanish-speaking Mexican Americans could reduce or eliminate both the oral and visual disparities, as well as the health conditions associated with insomnia. Self-reported reasons for insomnia, such as stress and bed-partner snoring, are consistent with those of non-Hispanic whites and African Americans. Findings underscore the need for culturally relevant sleep education in nursing practice and research.