Health-Seeking Behaviors and Health Information Gathering in Older Mexican American Males


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Abstract

Evidence suggests that men’s health disparities are linked to attitudes and beliefs toward health promotion and risk reduction, participation in high-risk behaviors, and limited health care access and use influenced by socioeconomic challenges. However, we know less about the specific factors related to health disparities in older Mexican American males. The purpose of this study was to explore the cultural, social, environmental, and gender factors influencing health-seeking behaviors and health information gathering in older Mexican American males. In-depth interviews were conducted with 14 older Mexican American males aged 65–80 years. Based on language preference, interviews were conducted in either Spanish or English. A standardized moderator’s guide was used to examine the participant’s perceptions of health, maintenance of health, gender influences on health, and sources of men’s health information and health promotion programs. Data were collected, organized, and analyzed following the methodology of transcendental phenomenology and the social ecological model. Two major themes related to health-seeking behaviors and health information gathering emerged: (a) top external sources heeded include women, health care providers, and the Internet and (b) men regard inner prompts for self-determined self-care. Future research should consider these external sources and inner prompts when developing targeted health promotion interventions, such as physical activity programs, with older Mexican American males.

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