Perceived health status, spiritual well-being, and selected health practices among Mexican-American women




Rojas, Dahlia Zuñiga

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This descriptive study explored holistically the health of women. One hundred women utilizing a community health clinic for health care were surveyed. This sample was drawn by using a systematic random selection of Spanish-surnamed women with appointments. The women, aged 18-60 years, lived in a major city of a large southwestern state in the United States. Findings from a voluntary, self-administered questionnaire were analyzed. Of the 100 women, 98 were Mexican-American and 2 were Central American. Three instruments, the Self-Rated Health (SRH) Scale (Lawton, Moss, Fulcomer, & Kleban, 1982) (α = 99), the revised Health Practices Index (HPI) (Wiley & Camacho, 1980) (α = 23), and the Spiritual Well-Being (SWB) Scale (Ellison, 1983) (α = 83) were used.

Correlations were found between the following variables: self-rated health score with weight and Quetelet Index (height/weight ratio) () and self-rated health score with physical activity (+). Thus, perceived health status as measured by self-rated health scores was correlated with weight and physical activity. A linear relationship between spiritual well-being scores and frequency of church attendance predicted perceived health status. A 24-48 hour dietary recall was used to describe the women's nutritional habits. The majority (94%) of the 15 pregnant women did not meet their caloric needs; they met only about half (49%) of them. Of the 85 non-pregnant women, 80% consumed less than the daily caloric allowance and 20% exceeded that amount. Of the fat consumed, the saturated fat exceeded the unsaturated fat at about a 2:1 ratio.

Additional findings revealed significant differences between U.S. born and foreign born women and between those preferring English language to Spanish language. U.S. born women were more likely to drink alcohol (p =.01) than those foreign born. A highly significant difference existed in drinking habits of those choosing the English questionnaire from those choosing the Spanish one (p =.001). Women who drank alcohol were also more likely to smoke cigarettes (p =.01). As age of immigration to the United States increased, so did abstinence from alcohol and smoking.



Nursing, Health and environmental sciences, Religion, Sociology, Public health, Hispanic American studies, Ethnic studies, Women, Spirituality