Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2008


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

Joan Such Lockhart

Committee Member

Luann Richardson

Committee Member

Mary de Chesnay


folk, health promotion, prevention, remedies


The study provides information on health-seeking behaviors across the lifespan of African Americans who are older, have a low income, and reside in rural south Alabama. A qualitative naturalistic inquiry was conducted utilizing de Chesnay's (2005) life history methodology. The aim of the study was to produce knowledge that could be utilized in developing age, race, and socio-economically appropriate health promotion intervention strategies for this population.

Participation was voluntary and confidentiality was protected. Participants (N=7) were informed on the purpose of the study, methods of data collection, and their right to withdraw. Inclusion criteria was utilized to purposefully select study participants who were African American, between the ages of 65 and 85, residents of rural south Alabama, and who met the definition of low income according to the 2006 Federal Poverty Guidelines (Federal Register, 2006). Both male (n=2) and female (n=5) participants were included. Data collection tools included the researcher, a semi-structured interview guide, genogram, and timeline. The study took place in rural south Alabama. Data collection was recorded under a pseudonym and conducted at a time and place convenient to the study participants. Nine major themes resulted from data analysis: (a) not sick, (b) knowledge and use of home remedies, (c) childhood preference for generic folk-learned remedies, (d) adult preference for professional health care, (e) need for and use of non-professional health care services, (f) need for and use of professional health care services, (g) limited health promotion and disease prevention education, (h) limited health promotion and disease prevention practice, and (i) trust help is available. Findings indicate a need to explore home remedy use and improve health promotion and disease prevention education related to preventive screenings and chronic disease.