The relationship between health value, self-efficacy, health locus of control, health benefits, health barriers, and health behavior practices in mothers

Tapler, Deborah
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between health value, self-efficacy, health locus of control, health barriers, health benefits, and the health behavior of women who are mothers. Selected demographic variables were also examined. In addition, the study presented a qualitative content analysis of mothers' written comments to determine themes which described the effect of motherhood on their personal health behaviors. This research about women's health was guided by the Health Promotion Model (Pender, 1987).

The following instruments were utilized to collect the data: Health Value Survey (Wallston, Maides, & Wallston, 1976), General Self-Efficacy Scale (Sherer et al., 1982), Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale (Wallston, Wallston, & DeVellis, 1978), Barrier/Benefit Scale (Murdaugh & Hinshaw, 1986), and Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile (Walker, Sechrist, & Pender, 1987). Reliability for each instrument was computed for the sample.

A nonprobability sample consisted of 202 mothers who were between the ages of 25 and 45 (M = 35). The majority of the sample was white, married, held a college degree, and had a middle income. Most mothers had one or two children living with them. Fifty-nine percent of the mothers did not work outside the home.

A descriptive, correlational design was used to test the proposed relationships between the variables. Self-efficacy and perceived benefits of action were positively related to health behavior in mothers at p<.01 (r =.33, r =.34, respectively). Internal and chance health locus of control were significantly related to health actions (p<.05). The powerful others subscale was not significant. Perceived barriers to action had the strongest relationship with health behavior (r = .56, p<.01). As the number of barriers to practicing health activities increases, the health behavior of mothers decreases. Mothers placed a high value on health which was positively related to performance of health actions (p<.01). Education, income, and employment were also significantly related to health behavior. Self-efficacy and barriers explained 35% of the variance of the dependent variable. From content analysis, 14 themes emerged to describe the experience of motherhood and mothers' health.

Health and environmental sciences, Social sciences, Psychology, Womens studies, Psychotherapy