An Inside View: Using Photovoice to Study Smoking in Rural Low-Income Women Public Deposited

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  • November 3, 2022
  • Mitchell, Star
    • Affiliation: School of Nursing
  • Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Disadvantaged populations, such as low-income rural women, continue to have higher than average smoking rates and are disproportionately affected by smoking related diseases, death, and an elevated financial burden. The purposes of this dissertation were to explore social and cultural factors that give meanings to being a smoker in rural low-income women and further explore the relationships between social support, social networks, social identity, and the meaning of smoking as they relate to the women's decisions to smoke and attempt smoking cessation. This dissertation consists of three separate, but related, papers. They are: 1) a systematic review of the literature which identifies the disconnect between desired forms of social support for smoking cessation and interventions that have been offered; 2) a methodology paper on the philosophical underpinnings of a relativist approach to photovoice as a method to study smoking in rural low-income women; and 3) findings from a qualitative study using ethnographic methods and photovoice to explore meanings and behaviors related to smoking in this population of women. Focusing on the social and cultural context of smoking, 13 rural low-income women smokers from geographically homogenous regions completed this study. Data collected from community assessments, participant produced photographs, and semi-structured interviews discovered patterns of experiences, which included isolation, struggles associated with living in rural areas, the use of smoking as a means of relaxation and stress management, family support and expectations, the role of being a good mother, and hope for a better life. Unexpected in the findings is the consistent expression of hope for a better quality of life for themselves and their families before smoking cessation is reasonably attempted. This study suggests that future research and interventions address the economic, social, and cultural environments of rural low-income women that impede improving their quality of life. In addition, smoking cessation research and interventions for this population should explore creative approaches that realign methods of stress management and relaxation with behaviors that decrease negative health outcomes.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Noblit, George W.
  • Giscombe, Cheryl
  • Kneipp, Shawn
  • Beeber, Linda
  • Kulbok, Pamela
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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