Influence of Life-Style, Health Behavior, and Health Indices on the Health Status of Underserved Adults

Tuesday, July 12, 2011: 1:45 PM

Theresa A. Kessler, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC
Elise M. Alverson, MSN, RN, FNP-BC
College of Nursing, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe the life-style and health behaviors of underserved adults seen at a nurse managed center.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to evaluate the influence of selected life-style, health behavior, and health indices on health status outcomes of underserved adults.

Purpose: How a person manages day to day life can be reflected in overall health status. Guided by Bruhn’s framework (1988), life-style and health behaviors include actions and/or inactions that directly or indirectly affect health status outcomes.The purpose was to examine how life-style, health behavior, and health indices predict health status in underserved adults.

Methods: A convenience sample of 84 underserved adults was recruited from a nurse managed center. Data were collected using an investigator developed questionnaire to measure life-style (hours of sleep and smoking), health behavior (number of prescription medications), and health indices (number of diagnosed medical conditions, BMI, and number of current symptoms). Health status was measured by the SF-12 Health Survey which included general (SF-1), physical (PCS), and mental (MCS) component summary scores.

Results: The sample was female (65.9%), aged 18 – 64 years, and had an annual income < $ 25,000. For the non-smokers, the five independent variables accounted for 47.1% of the variance in SF1, (F = 9.625, df = 5, 54, p < .000), 33.5% of the variance in PCS (F = 5.140, df = 5, 51, p < .001), and 23.2% of the variance in MCS (F = 3.085, df = 5, 51, p = .017). For the smokers, the six independent variables accounted for 48.7% of the variance in SF1 (F = 3.166, df = 6, 20, p = .024), 41.7% of the variance in PCS (F = 2.383, df = 6, 20, p = .067), and 25.4% of the variance in MCS (F = 1.136, df = 6, 20, p < .378).

Conclusion: The findings provide partial theoretical support for the impact life-style and health behaviors have on health status. Focusing interventions on improving multiple behaviors at the same time appears to have the greatest potential impact on health status outcomes.