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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Cognitive and behavioral effects of osteoporosis health education Beatty, Barbara Eleanor


The purpose of this study was to describe and evaluate a health education program provided primarily for older women who have or suspect they have osteoporosis. The health education program evaluated is provided by the Ostop Society of British Columbia (Ostop). One of the goals of the study was to provide Ostop with descriptive information about the organization's members, their participation in the organization's education program and their evaluation of the value of the information sources provided by the organization. A second goal was to evaluate the relationships between variables which may explain how Ostop functions as a provider of osteoporosis health education. Bandura's social learning theory was used to provide a theoretical explanation of the Ostop education program, to identify study variables and to generate the research questions. The variables that were expected to be related to the members' level of knowledge about osteoporosis were selected personal characteristics, the amount of participation in Ostop, and members' perceptions about the value of the different sources of information provided by Ostop. The same variables plus members' level of knowledge about osteoporosis were expected to be related to the level of participation in health behaviors believed to help prevent or slow the progression of osteoporosis. The study sample consisted of 120 women members of Ostop, randomly selected from a membership list which contained the names of 261 women members of Ostop. All of the members included on the list lived close enough to Vancouver, British Columbia to attend the lecture series offered by Ostop. The study group is a random sample of Ostop members but may not accurately represent all women with or at risk of developing osteoporosis. Ostop is a special interest group which tends to attract as members well educated women with at least some prior awareness of and concern about the condition. The data were collected by means of a mailed questionnaire which was developed for this study. The content of the questionnaire was based on the recent osteoporosis research literature, and the advice of a variety of content experts. Prior to conducting the study, the researcher pilot tested the questionnaire using nine Ostop members. The descriptive information demonstrated that members are typically post-menopausal women in their sixties and seventies who have osteoporosis and who have an educational attainment of at least graduation from high school. The respondents were well-informed about osteoporosis and were more likely to practice health behaviors related to calcium intake than to perform the recommended amount of exercise. One important finding was that 66% of the respondents reported daily intakes of calcium which exceeded the highest recommended daily intake. This is of concern in light of research findings that excessive calcium intake is associated with the development of kidney stones in some women. Regression analysis of the study variables demonstrated that: 1. the number of Ostop-provided information sources identified by respondents as being useful was positively and significantly (p≦.05) correlated with knowledge level. 2. Both age and menopause status were negatively and significantly (p≦.05) correlated with knowledge level. 3. The only variable which was correlated significantly (p≦.05) with the performance of osteoporosis-related health behavior was knowledge level. This was a weak positive correlation of .234. These results suggest that Ostop’s present educational program may be helping women gain knowledge about osteoporosis and that having knowledge about osteoporosis is one factor which is associated with the practice of recommended health behavior. Social learning theory was used to explain the results and to suggest ways in which Ostop may be able to increase the effectiveness of its educational efforts. Suggestions were also made about other ways to provide osteoporosis health education and about directions for further research.

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