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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The relationship between self-esteem and health promoting behaviors in working women Stone, Sharon Ann


To date, the undertaking of health promoting behaviors in working women is an issue which has not been explored in any depth. This issue has become particularly important because of two parallel phenomena - the rapid expansion of the numbers of women in the workforce, and the growing interest in health promotion - which have emerged in Canada in the last twenty years or so. As well, factors which may relate to the undertaking of health promoting behaviors have been hypothesized and investigated to some extent, but have not yet been fully determined. Self-esteem has been proposed as one motivational factor in the undertaking of health promoting behaviors. The present study has sought to determine the extent to which self-esteem, working conditions, and demographic factors, are related to the undertaking of health promoting behaviors in working women. The conceptual model used is a modified version of Pender's (1982) Health Promotion Model in which a feedback mechanism operates, reinforcing the performance of health promoting behavior as self-esteem levels grow, and equally, reinforcing self-esteem levels according to the extent to which health promoting behaviors are undertaken. Subjects of a random sample of 500 female union members working in the greater Vancouver area were mailed a questionnaire package. The questionnaires asked for data on present levels of self-esteem, health promoting behaviors presently undertaken, and demographic and working condition factors. Following a repeat mailing, the final number of responses available for analysis was 229 (46%). Simple linear regression analysis revealed that self-esteem was predictive of health promoting behaviors in a global sense, and, in particular, of self-actualization, health responsibility, exercise, and nutrition. However, neither demographic variables, nor the number of hours worked per week, were found to be predictive of health promoting behaviors. Although the study suffered from a limitation due to a low response rate, the sample was determined to be broadly representative of the union population. Therefore, these study results may be generalized to other urban, unionized females sharing similar demographic characteristics.

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