Factors of Risk Behaviors for Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors in Female College Students in Korea

Sunday, 30 July 2017

SoMi Park, PhD
Department of Nursing, Yonsei University, Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Korea, Republic of (South)
ChaeWeon Chung, PhD
College of Nursing, Research Institute of Nursing Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)

Purpose: Environmental hormones are known to affect women’s health, inducing endocrine imbalances and reproductive health issues. As college students live more independently, they consume more fast food, disposable products, and convenient household items, which exposes them to more environmental hormones. Protecting women’s reproductive health is crucial for the succession of health to the next generation. This study examined the factors associated with risk behaviors for exposure to endocrine disruptors in female college students in Korea.

Methods: A cross-sectional correlative study was designed by using a questionnaire survey. The major variables were 1) the predisposing factors of 'interest in health concerns', 'concern about endocrine disruptors', ‘perception of endocrine disruptors related to female reproductive health’ ; 2) the reinforcing factors of ‘menstrual problems', ’self-appraisal of exposure to endocrine disruptors’, ‘need for information on endocrine disruptors’; and 3) the enabling factors of ‘participation in pro-environmental activity', and 'pro-environmental lifestyle’. The outcome variable was ‘risk behaviors for exposure to endocrine disruptors’. Data were collected from September to October in 2015. A total of 199 female college students in Korea voluntarily participated.

Results: Based on the PRECEDE conceptual framework of the study, the influences of the factors on risk behaviors for exposure to endocrine disruptors were analyzed by a hierarchical regression. In the first step, demographics explained 11.7% (F=27.3, p<.001) of the variance of the risk behaviors of exposure to endocrine disruptors. The second step showed an additional 20.1% variance (F=23.1, p<.001) by adding the predisposing factors. In the third step, reinforcing factors markedly increased the explained variance to 55.4% (F=36.1, p<.001), which added 24.7% more. Finally, by adding the enabling factors, 61.7% (F=36.4, p<.001) of the variance was explained.

Conclusion: Women with less sense of need for information about endocrine disruptors and a poor pro-environmental lifestyle engage in more risk behaviors for exposure to endocrine disruptors. Education should include practical information about environmental hormones and should focus on leading young women to a pro-environmental lifestyle.

“This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education(NRF-2015R1D1A3A01017746)”