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1. Shern, Stacy N. My Hair or Health: Investigating the Impact of Hair Care and Maintenance on the Health of African American Women.

Degree: PhD, Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services: Health Education, 2017, University of Cincinnati

The health status of African Americans (AA) reveal higher rates of mortality and morbidity associated with chronic disease. AA women in particular, have a high prevalence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes, which are linked to obesity and sedentary lifestyles. AA women suffer from higher rates of obesity and physical inactivity compared to other ethnic groups. Though there are many contributing factors, maintaining and caring for their hair is a perceived barrier to physical activity. Hairstyling can require a substantial amount of time and money. Typically, AA women’s hair is styled with the purpose of preserving the hairstyle for several days, weeks, and at times months. Hair is an important part of the AA female culture; however, AA women may be choosing their hair over their health. The purpose of this exploratory study was to determine if haircare practices and maintenance are a barrier to physical activity and to determine the difference between hair care and maintenance cost and obesity among African American women. Methods: This exploratory study utilized a convenience sample of women from two predominantly African American churches. A total of 135 women 18 years of age and older who self-identified as African American completed a 6-section survey. The final sample for analysis included 131 women. Results: Data was analyzed using the statistical software SPSS (version 23). Hair was reported as moderate barrier to physical activity (M= 21.6026, SD=8.032, possible scores ranging from 9 to 45). Over three-quarters (76.2%) of women reported being physically inactive. Though, there was no relationship between hair care and maintenance cost and obesity rates, a large percentage of the sample was categorized as being either overweight (31.4%) or obese (53.7%). Annual hair care and maintenance cost was estimated at $767.00 US dollars. Conclusion: African American women take pride in their hair. Women often invest time and money in caring for and maintaining their hair and/or hairstyle. To increase physical activity and decrease obesity rates among this population, future research must consider the cultural barriers and practices that may contribute to these impeding issues. Advisors/Committee Members: Bernard, Amy (Committee Chair).

Subjects/Keywords: Health Education; African American; Black; Physical Activity; Hair care; Barriers; Cost

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APA (6th Edition):

Shern, S. N. (2017). My Hair or Health: Investigating the Impact of Hair Care and Maintenance on the Health of African American Women. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Cincinnati. Retrieved from http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ucin149131762738866

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Shern, Stacy N. “My Hair or Health: Investigating the Impact of Hair Care and Maintenance on the Health of African American Women.” 2017. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Cincinnati. Accessed November 24, 2017. http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ucin149131762738866.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Shern, Stacy N. “My Hair or Health: Investigating the Impact of Hair Care and Maintenance on the Health of African American Women.” 2017. Web. 24 Nov 2017.

Vancouver:

Shern SN. My Hair or Health: Investigating the Impact of Hair Care and Maintenance on the Health of African American Women. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Cincinnati; 2017. [cited 2017 Nov 24]. Available from: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ucin149131762738866.

Council of Science Editors:

Shern SN. My Hair or Health: Investigating the Impact of Hair Care and Maintenance on the Health of African American Women. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Cincinnati; 2017. Available from: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ucin149131762738866

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