Agazio, J. (Henry M. Jackson Foundation) 1996. Health Promotion in Active Duty Military with Children.

This study was intended to determine the extent to which selected demographic characteristics and attitudes shape health-promoting behaviors in active duty women with children and to describe qualitatively their experiences so as to identify barriers they face and strategies they use to pursue health promotion. The study employed a prospective descriptive exploratory design developed from Pender’s (1996) Health Promotion Model. A sample of 140 active duty women with children completed the survey instruments, and a subset of 28 participated in a short focused interview. Multiple regression was used to analyze relationships between the variables and health-promoting lifestyle scores. Qualitative data analysis was used simultaneously to analyze and direct data collection. Only perceived health status predicted perceived self efficacy. Social strata and perceived health status predicted interpersonal influences. Perceived self efficacy, interpersonal influences, social strata, and perception of clinical health predicted health promoting behaviors. The conclusion was that health promotion behaviors do not depend solely on desire, but require a perception of sufficient support in the home or work environment. Keys to feeling successful at balancing home and work demands were resource availability and commitment. Barriers to health promotion included lack of time, difficulty with motivation, high stress levels, work demands, and family responsibilities. Resources included spouses, coworkers, friends, and physical training partners, as well as information about healthy behaviors, reliable day care, and internal motivators such as vanity, personal goals, and faith. Successful strategies included specific tips for getting exercise, a healthy diet, and finding stress relief. Organization, prioritization, preplanning, and time management were strategies for overall life management. These strategies, identified qualitatively and validated quantitatively, offer practical, inexpensive, and fairly easily implemented ways to pursue and practice behaviors that promote health.