The Development of a Health Promotion Empowerment Project for the Southeast Asian Immigrant Women in Taiwan: A Participatory Action Research

Wednesday, July 13, 2011: 10:50 AM

Hsiu-Hung Wang, RN, PhD, FAAN
College of Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Yung-Mei Yang, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Hsiu-Min Tsai, PhD
Chang Gung Institute of Technology/Nursing, Kwei-Shan, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to utilize a participatory action research method to explore feedback from the Southeast Asian immigrant women in Taiwan.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to indicate the use of a participatory action research method involving immigrant women in developing an effective health promotion program.


In Taiwan, the number of Southeast Asian immigrant women is increasing year by year. The health and health care of these women should be concerned to assure their quality of life.


Three stages were conducted: initial step, acting cycle, and review cycle. In initial step, researchers and participants formed a partnership and together they identified community partners/resources and specific physical, psychological, spiritual and social needs in the context of acculturation adaptation. In acting cycle, both parties established trust relationships and agreed on a research time-frame to implement the HPEP. Six health issues were selected in the HPEP: reproduction health, disease prevention, utilization of healthcare system, cultural competence, stress adjustment, and specific health concerns. In review cycle, the HPEP was refined to reflect the immigrant women’s characteristics, health literacy, culture and linguistic diversity, social isolation, and financial hardship.


Sixty-eight participants, recruited from a foreign spouse family center in southern Taiwan, were invited to participate in the HPEP. The participants’ mean age was 32.4 years old. They had lived in Taiwan for 1 to 24 years, with an average of 8.3 years. Most of them had education below junior high school (91%) and were housewives (78%). Through the process of the HPEP, five themes were categorized based on process recording, field notes, and in-depth interviews of the participants. These themes were sense of self-worth, psychological resilience, social networks, ethnic attachment, and health empowerment.


The findings indicated that the use of a participatory action research method involving immigrant women in developing health promotion program could be an effective and useful mechanism to empower this unique cultural group.