Factors related to Mexican-American workers' use of hearing protection
Madeleine J. Kerr, RN, PhD
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Significant numbers of Mexican Americans work in jobs where they are exposed to harmful noise, therefore they are vulnerable to noise-induced hearing loss. Use of hearing protection is often the only way to prevent exposure to loud noise, yet there is no knowledge of how to promote its use among Mexican American workers. This study builds on a program of research by Lusk in which the determinants of health-protective behavior are identified in order to design effective safety programs. This study was based on a theoretical model adapted from the Health Promotion Model (Pender, 1987). A questionnaire was completed by 119 Mexican American garment workers and sixteen of those workers participated in one of two focus groups. Factors that directly influenced the use of hearing protection were Benefits of Use of Hearing Protection Minus Barriers to Use of Hearing Protection, a Clinical Conception of Health, Self-efficacy in the Use of Hearing Protection and Perceived Health Status. Educational Level influenced Self-efficacy (R$\sp2$ =.25, Adj. R$\sp2$ =.19). In an exploratory analysis, hearing protection requirement and plant site, along with three cognitive-perceptual factors; Benefits of Use of Hearing Protection Minus Barriers to Use of Hearing Protection, a Clinical Conception of Health and Perceived Health Status; were directly related to Use of Hearing Protection (R$\sp2$ =.55, Adj. R$\sp2$ =.45). These findings must be interpreted with caution due to inadequate reliability of several of the instruments. Focus group interviews provided the data to verify factors in the theoretical model and explore additional factors that could be related to use of hearing protection. Those verified in the data were Situational Influences for Use of Hearing Protection, Barriers to Use of Hearing Protection and Interpersonal Influences on Use of Hearing Protection. Additional factors fit into four themes: personal attitudes, personal experience with hearing protection, influence of noise on work, and the work environment. Directions for future research with this worker population are suggested based on the study findings. Prior to designing an intervention based on the study findings, instrument refinement and development and a further test of the model are needed.
This dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 9501083; ProQuest document ID: 304141337. The author still retains copyright.
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