Variables affecting lifestyle balance in women
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The primary purpose of this descriptive study was to clarify the lifestyle balance phenomenon in women. A cross-sectional descriptive design was used to explore multiple concepts in a sample of women from an 11-county rural area of central Texas. To clarify the phenomenon of lifestyle balance, 18 variables were operationalized through a 5-part investigator-developed instrument: lifestyle balance, health, roles, complexity, strain, life pattern orientation, beliefs about lifestyle balance and demographic data. Three of these variables were subdivided: five roles, six beliefs, and the two demographics of age and educational level. Content related evidence of validity and evidence of reliability of the belief about lifestyle balance subscales was demonstrated. A systematic stratified random sampling technique was used to select 560 participants from the population of 7,186 registered voters in one rural county and 1,524 female registered nurses in 11 counties in central Texas. Within 2 months of the first mailing, 256 or 45.7% of the questionnaires were completed to the extent necessary to be included in the data analysis. The average age of the participants was 45 years, with the youngest participant being 21 years old, and the oldest participant being 79 years old. The typical participant was in the Era of Transition age category (age 29-48), white, married, held full-time employment, and had a least attended college. An innovative exploratory data analysis approach was used to determine what the data revealed about the lifestyle balance phenomenon. Visual and numeric displays--histogram, box-and-whiskers plots, stem-and-leaf displays, median hinge number summaries, scatterplots, and strip box-and-whiskers plots--were used to examine single variables and the relationship between pairs of variables. These displays revealed that: lifestyle balance is positively related to health, mastery, and connectedness: lifestyle balance is negatively related to role strain; lifestyle balance can occur when women have various life pattern orientations and educational levels; and high levels of role complexity and lifestyle balance can coexist. Correlation coefficients confirmed the same direction and strength of the relationship between variables that had been illustrated in the scatterplots.