Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global and Sociocultural Studies

First Advisor's Name

Hugh Gladwin

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Betty Morrow

Third Advisor's Name

Lilly Langer

Date of Defense



The objective of this research is to determine the influences of social, environmental, behavioral, and economic forces on the health care service utilization of four racial/ethnic groups of non-institutionalized elders in a multicultural urban environment. To address these issues this dissertation examines three intertwined themes of culture, aging, and health, using a sample of elders residing in Miami-Dade County, FL in four racial/ethnic groups: white non-Hispanic; black non-Hispanic English speakers; Cuban; and non-Cuban Hispanic.

The research questions were analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative data. Data for the quantitative component uses telephone survey data from the Dade County Needs Assessment. The purpose of this component is to develop a more comprehensive model of elder health care utilization behavior. The qualitative component uses data from focus groups from Dade County Needs Assessment, archival data and a literature review of previous ethnographic research. The purpose of this component is to gain a better understanding of the social construction of the terms "age" and "aging," as well as to place issues of health and health care in the lives of elders.




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