Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Subcategory: Social Sciences/Psychology/Economics
Addn Araya - Pennsylvania State University
Co-Author(s): Rhonda BeLue and Lori Francis, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Eritrean Immigrant health and health care access has not been explored, as have other African immigrants. Given the
increasing population of Eritreans in America, understanding Eritreans health status will be important for developing public health policies specific to the Eritrean community cultural norms.
This study had two specific aims: 1) to examine whether the use of social media forums, Facebook and Twitter, are effective in reaching the Eritrean and Eritrean American populations through survey form, and 2) conduct a health assessment based on responses to questions about health care access, exercise, chronic disease, and health status. An anonymous 1-point cross sectional survey, including 28 questions from the CDCs Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) 2014 questionnaire, assessed information on chronic disease status, health care access, health status, and demographics. Surveys were distributed through social media forums such as Twitter and Facebook. Taking into account the number of members on the various Facebook pages and the number of friends or twitter followers of those who reposted the link, about 64,936 points of contact were made. There is no data on how many of these contacts are repeats or whether they actually had the chance to view the link/survey. 276 participants gave consent to take the survey with 220 completing the survey. Of the 220 who completed the survey, 101 were recorded after the addition of the question confirming their being Eritrean or EritreanAmerican. Cross-tabulations were used to draw descriptive conclusions. Of 101 completed surveys, 8.9% were uninsured. Of those who were insured, only 63.3% reported having had a routine checkup in the last year. Of those who were uninsured, 45.5% did not visit a doctor due to cost. 54.5% did not have one doctor thought of as their personal health care provider. BMI calculated by using self-reported weight and height found a mean of 25, considered healthy, although close to being overweight, and a mean health status reported at 1.9 (1 being excellent health and 2 being very good). 54.5% of participants reported that they or a family member had diabetes. Social media served as an effective method to reach the Eritrean community. 220 surveys completed in about 3-4 weeks.
Future research must begin to explore views Eritreans may hold about the chronic diseases they have, as well as their methods of management. Furthermore, research using a community-based participation approach may help to further increase our understanding of the needs of Eritrean and Eritrean-American communities to create culturally appropriate health interventions.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): I thank the Ronald E. McNair program at The Pennsylvania State University for funding my project and giving guidance and encouragement. I also thank Dr. BeLue and Dr. Francis for their guidance in the research process and the successful completion of my project, I truly appreciate it.
Faculty Advisor: Rhonda BeLue, Lori Francis, N/A