THE LIVED EXPERIENCES OF FOUR OVERWEIGHT HISPANIC ADOLESCENT FEMALES
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The purpose of this study was to understand the lived experiences of four overweight/obese Hispanic adolescents as individuals by utilizing Social Cognitive Theory’s (SCT) (Bandura, 1977, 1986, & 1989) reciprocal interaction of the environment, personal factors and behaviors of the participants in order to investigate the health risk behaviors of the participants as they related to overweight and obesity. Additionally, the commonalities and differences across participants were examined. Four female Hispanic adolescents whose BMI measured at the 99th percentiles for age and gender were randomly chosen from students enrolled in a junior high school physical education intervention class. Experiences of each participant were examined utilizing school cumulative records, a demographic questionnaire, participant observation in certain contexts, and a series of interviews, based on questions derived from SCT. Methodological triangulation and grounded theory were utilized in order to examine the research question. The accumulated data were presented in four separate case studies, which examined the life perspectives of each participant. A componential analysis was used to interpret the data. Results of the individual case studies showed that the school, home, and community environments were found to be influential to the health status of the four overweight participants, with the family appearing to be the primary source of influence. This study's conclusions indicate that the schools, homes and communities of the participants did not encourage physical activity or diet control and health risk behaviors in this regard were reinforced and perpetuated by family and friends.
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