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Recent Research Publications and Funding

  •  | September 1, 2006 4:00AM

     OBJECTIVES: To examine the level of awareness of radon issues, correlates of elective testing behaviors, and the accuracy of risk perception for radon exposures among rural residents receiving public health services.

    DESIGN: A cross-sectional design was used in which questionnaire data and household analytic data for radon levels were collected from a nonprobabilistic sample of rural households.

    SAMPLE: Thirty-one rural households with 71 adults and 60 children participated in the study. Primary household respondents were female (100%), Caucasian (97%), and primarily (94%) between 21 and 40 years of age.

    MEASUREMENT: Questionnaire data consisted of knowledge and risk perception items about radon and all homes were tested for the presence of radon.

    RESULTS: The prevalence of high airborne radon (defined as> or=4 pCi/l) was 32%. More than a third of the sample underestimated the seriousness of health effects of radon exposure, 39% disagreed that being around less radon would improve the long-term health of their children, and 52% were unsure whether radon could cause health problems. After adjusting for chance, only 21% of the subjects correctly understood their risk status.

    CONCLUSIONS: This study provides preliminary evidence that low-income rural citizens do not understand their risk of radon exposure or the deleterious consequences of exposure.

  •  | July 1, 2006 4:00AM

     Background: Classification of smoking status has a major impact on the conclusions drawn from smoking cessation intervention research, yet few studies have addressed this critical issue.

    Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare three classifications (naïve, optimistic, and pessimistic) of smoking cessation outcomes or smoking status from the Women's Initiative for Nonsmoking Study (WINS).

    Methods: This is a longitudinal prospective study nested within a randomized clinical trial (RCT) design of WINS, an RCT of 277 women over the age of 18 years who reported smoking cigarettes continuously for 1 month prior to a cardiovascular event requiring hospital admission. Women were randomized to either the usual care group (UC) or the intervention group (IG). Recruitment for WINS occurred between October 1996 and December 1998 in 10 hospitals in the San Francisco Bay area. Follow-up data on smoking status was obtained from the UC and the IG using a structured telephone interview at 6 and 12 months from baseline and was confirmed by family members and salivary cotinine levels.

    Results: Seven-daypointprevalence(self-report of not smoking in the past 7 days; "not even a puff") using the naïve (the most liberal) classification yields a greater number of nonsmokers than the pessimistic or most conservative classification (cotinine level verification of smoking status). The classification of smoking status also affects time to continuous smoking. The pessimistic classification results in the shortest time to continuous smoking, whereas the opposite is observed with the naïve classification.

    Discussion: It is important to critically evaluate the underlying assumptions made by study investigators when measuring and reporting smoking status. The classification of smoking status and the selection of analysis, meaning point prevalence versus survival analysis, affect study results and contribute to the variability observed in the research findings of smoking cessation intervention trials and the challenges faced in making appropriate comparisons across studies.

  •  | July 1, 2006 12:00AM

    Diabetes has a disproportionate impact on people of color, including Black Americans. An understanding of the perspectives of rural Blacks is needed to design effective programs of diabetes care. The purpose of this study was to examine the experience of being diagnosed with diabetes as described by rural Blacks. This descriptive, exploratory study conducted gender-separated focus groups in 3 rural communities to capture diagnosis perspectives. Findings may be useful to healthcare professionals providing diabetes care to rural Blacks. Participants could describe events surrounding diagnosis with clarity. For many, the diagnosis was not an emotional and/or surprising experience. Participants commonly used expressive or figurative language to relate their stories of diagnosis, and gender differences were noted. Descriptions of diagnosis revealed valuable infor-mation about participants' perceptions of their diabetes.  

  •  | June 30, 2006 4:00AM

    RNs and other healthcare professionals engage in helping relationships that involve objective therapeutic exchange and intervention for the dying and bereavement support for the survivors. Nurses must possess good communication skills to give the attuned empathic responses upon which humane, complete, and comprehensive end-of-life care is based. These empathic responses are conditioned by nurses' emotional and cognitive attitudes toward death and dying. This article will examine the ways in which nurses, through discussions on death, use three cognitive methods-knowing, explaining, and understanding-in their attempts to come to terms with dying and the death process. A greater understanding of how RNs currently think and talk about the end of life promises several opportunities to improve in care of the dying.  

  •  | June 20, 2006 4:00AM

    BACKGROUND: Stalking is a serious public health and societal concern affecting many college women. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore college women's experiences of stalking. The specific aims were to compare victims and nonvictims on physical and mental health indicators and to identify lifestyle changes made in response to being stalked. METHODS: In this cross-sectional design, 601 women from two universities completed a stalking questionnaire, a mental health screening tool, and an injury checklist. Data analysis included frequencies, multivariate analysis of variance, analysis of variance, and chi(2) analysis. RESULTS: A quarter of the sample reported experiencing stalking, most often by an intimate or dating partner. Individuals who reported experiencing stalking reported significantly more mental health symptoms and lower perceived physical health status than individuals who did not. Victims reported changing routines, behaviors, and activities. CONCLUSIONS: Psychiatric nurses must be knowledgeable about stalking and its impact on health. Nurses can provide support, services, and community referrals.  

  •  | May 1, 2006 4:00AM

     PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To describe fatigue in women with breast cancer undergoing radiotherapy and to explore the impact of fatigue on their health status.

    DESIGN: Prospective, descriptive, repeated measures.

    SETTING: A major oncology center, Saint Savvas Cancer Hospital, in Athens, Greece.

    SAMPLE: Consecutive sample of 106 women (mean age = 55 + 12), with histologically confirmed diagnosis for stage I or II breast cancer who were receiving adjuvant radiotherapy for approximately six weeks.

    METHODS: Data were collected with the Revised Piper Fatigue Scale (PFS) and the Short Form-36 (SF-36) Health Survey Scale in the first two days of radiotherapy (T0), during the third week (T1), and during the last week of treatment (T2).

    MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Fatigue, health status.

    FINDINGS: Across-subjects analysis revealed that fatigue increased during radiotherapy in patients with breast cancer regardless of stage, type of surgery, or whether they received chemotherapy (p 0.05). Between-subject analysis revealed that no differences existed in the PFS between different groups (chemotherapy versus no chemotherapy, breast conservation versus mastectomy, stage I versus stage II) at each measurement point. A negative correlation was found between the subscales of the PFS and all of the subscales of the SF-36.

    CONCLUSIONS: Fatigue intensity increased significantly during the course of radiotherapy, and patients experienced a significant deterioration in their overall health status.

    IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Findings contribute to the growing body of evidence regarding fatigue and its impact on health status in Greek patients with breast cancer and provide insights for effective nursing assessment, patient education, and symptom management.

  •  | May 1, 2006 4:00AM

     Researchers have worked to delineate the manner in which urban environments reflect broader social processes, such as those creating racially, ethnically and economically segregated communities with vast differences in aspects of the built environment, opportunity structures, social environments, and environmental exposures. Interdisciplinary research is essential to gain an enhanced understanding of the complex relationships between these stressors and protective factors in urban environments and health. The purpose of this study was to examine the ways that multiple factors may intersect to influence the social and physical context and health within three areas of Detroit, Michigan. We describe the study design and results from seven focus groups conducted by the Healthy Environments Partnership (HEP) and how the results informed the development of a survey questionnaire and environmental audit tool. The findings from the stress process exercise used in the focus groups described here validated the relevance of a number of existing concepts and measures, suggested modifications of others, and evoked several new concepts and measures that may not have been captured without this process, all of which were subsequently included in the survey and environmental audit conducted by HEP. Including both qualitative and quantitative methods can enrich research and maximize the extent to which research questions being asked and hypotheses being tested are driven by the experiences of residents themselves, which can enhance our efforts to identify strategies to improve the physical and social environments of urban areas and, in so doing, reduce inequities in health.

  •  | March 14, 2006 6:00AM

    Reduced perfusion to the placenta in early pregnancy is believed to be the initiating factor in the development of preeclampsia, triggering local ischemia and systemic vascular hyperresponsiveness. This sequence of events creates a predisposition to the development of altered vascular function and hypertension. This study was designed to determine the influence of placental insufficiency on the responsiveness of mesenteric resistance arteries in an animal model of preeclampsia. Placental insufficiency was induced by reduction in uteroplacental perfusion pressure (RUPP) in experimental Sprague-Dawley rat dams. The uterine branches of the ovarian arteries and the abdominal aortae of pregnant rats were surgically constricted on gestational Day 14. Dams in the control group underwent a sham procedure. Rats were euthanized on gestational Day 20, followed by removal of the small intestine and adjacent mesentery. First-order mesenteric resistance arteries were mounted on a small vessel wire myograph and challenged with incremental concentrations of vasoconstrictors and vasorelaxants. Mesenteric arteries in dams with placental insufficiency demonstrated an increased maximal tension to phenylephrine (7.15 +/- 0.15 vs. 5.4 +/- 0.27 mN/mm, P < 0.001); potassium chloride at 60 mM (3.43 +/- 0.11 vs. 2.77 +/- 0.14 mN/mm, P < 0.01) and 120 mM (3.92 +/- 0.18 vs. 2.97 +/- 0.16 mN/mm, P < 0.01); and angiotensin II (2.59 +/- 0.42 vs. 1.51 +/- 0.22 mN/mm, P < 0.05). Maximal relaxation to endothelium-dependent relaxants acetylcholine and calcium ionophore (A23187) was not significantly reduced. Data suggest that placental insufficiency leads to hyperresponsiveness to vasoconstrictor stimuli in mesenteric arteries.  

  •  | March 1, 2006 6:00AM

     Qualitative description was used to explore how rural community leaders frame, interpret, and give meaning to environmental health issues affecting their constituents and communities. Six rural community leaders discussed growth, vulnerable families, and the action avoidance strategies they use or see used in lieu of adopting health-promoting behaviors. Findings suggest intervention strategies should be economical, use common sense, be sensitive to regional identity, and use local case studies and "inside leadership." Occupational health nurses addressing the disparate environmental health risks in rural communities are encouraged to use agenda-neutral, scientifically based risk communication efforts and foster collaborative relationships among nurses, planners, industry, and other community leaders.

  •  | March 1, 2006 6:00AM


    Recent research suggests living in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood is associated with decreased likelihood of undergoing mammography and increased risk of late-stage breast cancer diagnosis. Long distances and travel times to facilities offering low- or no-fee mammography may be important barriers to adherence to mammography screening recommendations for women living in economically disadvantaged urban neighborhoods, in which African–Americans are disproportionately represented. The purpose of this study was to examine whether the spatial distribution of facilities providing low- or no-fee screening mammography in Chicago, Illinois, is equitable on the basis of neighborhood socioeconomic and racial characteristics. We found that distance and travel times via automobile and public transportation to facilities generally decrease as neighborhood poverty increases. However, we also found that the strength of the association between neighborhood poverty level and two of the spatial accessibility measures—distance and public transportation travel time—is less strong in African–American neighborhoods. Among neighborhoods with the greatest need for facilities (i.e., neighborhoods with the highest proportions of residents in poverty), African–American neighborhoods have longer travel distances and public transportation travel times than neighborhoods with proportionately fewer African–American residents. Thus, it appears that the spatial accessibility of low- and no-fee mammography services is inequitable in Chicago. In view of persistent social disparities in health such as breast cancer outcomes, these findings suggest it is important for researchers to examine the spatial distribution of health resources by both the socioeconomic and racial characteristics of urban neighborhoods.