Research has indicated that black women have the biggest burden of stroke in relation to women from any other racial group in the US (Beal, 2014). Nevertheless, awareness of stroke among African American women is still significantly low.
The paper criticizes an article by Beal (2014), which is based on a study aimed at exploring the perception of African American women pertain stroke and evaluate their health searching tendencies other than in medical encounters.
Beal (2014) sought to establish the awareness among African American women concerning stroke and how they access pertinent information. As such, the author set two research questions, including “what are the perceptions of African American women about the cause, seriousness, and consequences of stroke?” and “How do African American women acquire health information outside of medical encounters?” (p. 25).
The author adopted an exploratory-descriptive qualitative design, which is recommended for studying views of participants on certain issues and their interventions. The design entails seeking to evaluate issues that have not been defined comprehensively and clearly and, therefore, suggest pertinent interventions (Beal, 2014).
The sample was collected from black churches in two urban centers, and it comprised 48 respondents. The lower age limit for the participants was set at 38 years, and the average age was 68.6 years. A considerable more than 50% of the sample had a college or graduate degree. Slightly more than 20% of the women had prior stroke treatment. The sample could be considered inadequate due to its homogeneity and difficulty in the generalizability of findings and implications.
Data Collection Method
Beal (2014) and a black investigative assistant collected the data from the participants in four churches. The participants were divided into groups of 6-10 women. Open-ended question interviews were administered to the respondents, and the feedback recorded using a digital audio recorder.
The sample used in the study was homogenous and represented church-going urban women only. It is recommended that future studies include women from rural areas and other demographics. Second, although economic status may play a role information exposure, the study overlooked information on participants’ economic wellbeing. This could be addressed by adding economic status in future related studies.
The result revealed the lack of sufficient knowledge pertaining stroke among the participants. The lack of sufficient knowledge was attributed to limited exposure to credible and trustworthy sources of information on the cause, symptoms, seriousness, and consequences of stroke.
The responses were grouped into four categories, which were given titles that included “We Are None in the Know about Stroke, If You’re Black, You’re at Risk for Stroke, Most of our Concern Would be Cancer and You Can’t Get Too Much Information” (p. 26).
The first and the fourth titles suggested that the participants have limited exposure to information and, therefore, they were not sufficiently knowledgeable. They had minimal knowledge concerning the stroke since majority depended on information from suffering friends and relatives. Very few, one out of the 48, had spent considerable time with a physician. Title 3 implied that information on cancer was more readily available to the participants compared with information of stroke and, therefore, physiology and symptoms of cancer were clearer to them than stroke.
Title 2 revealed that although the participants had limited information concerning causes, symptoms, occurrence, and development of stroke, they had the perception that African Americans are at greater risks of suffering from stroke than any other racial group in the US. Moreover, the participant knew that hypertension resulting from life stress could be linked to the increased risks. Nevertheless, the mechanism of development of hypertension-related stroke was unclear among the participant.
From the above findings, it is evident that the collected and analyzed data comprehensively answered the two research questions.
Beal (2014) was driven by the need to understand the perception of black women on stroke and their sources of information on the diseases other than physicians since research show that the Africa American women are relatively less informed even though they are at highest risks compared with women from other races in America. Using 48 participants, the author found out that the participants had insufficient knowledge pertaining stroke since they were not exposed to adequate information. Very few had clinical encounters while a majority heard about the disease from an affected friend or a relative. Although there are national campaigns on stroke, they are not as effective as they should be in informing black women on the disease. Moreover, a significant number of the respondents relied on television programs.
Implications for Practice
The findings from study imply that there is a dire need to come up with a more effective communication approach, which is tailored to black women. It is suggested that culturally relevant community-based programs, where physicians and black women interact in groups, are adopted. The findings and the practice implication could be reinforced by studies with bigger samples and with demographics that are more diverse.
Although black women face the greatest risk of stroke, they have insufficient information on the diseases because of lack of adequate exposure. This situation increases the risks of complications and death. Therefore, it is recommended that pertinent community-based approaches to communication be adopted since they are considered more effective in informing black women on stroke.
Beal, C. C. (2014). Stroke education needs of African American women. Public Health Nursing, 32(1), 24-33.