Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Adult Education and Human Resource Development

First Advisor's Name

Douglas H. Smith

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Awilda R. Haskins

Third Advisor's Name

Barry Greenberg

Date of Defense



Arthritis is the most common chronic condition affecting older people and is a major cause of limited activity. Arthritis education programs in English have demonstrated a positive impact on health but these programs have not reached the Hispanic communities where arthritis is the leading cause of disability. Minorities, such as Hispanics, have traditionally been reluctant to pursue self-help programs, and have been identified as an under-served population in terms of medical care. This study examined the effectiveness of one community health adult education program targeting Hispanic older adults with arthritis, the Spanish Arthritis Self Management Education Program (SASMEP), by evaluating changes in the participants’ general health, pain, disability, self-efficacy, health perceptions, frequency of physician visits, and exercise. A pre and post control group experimental design and analyses of covariance were used to determine the pre and post differences in health status and health behaviors for a group participating in the SASMEP and a group who did not using gender and age as covariates. A repeated measures design was also used, and repeated measures analyses of variance and post hoc tests were done on health status and health behavior data collected pre, post and one-year post education to determine long-term differences.

Results indicated the participants’ health status significantly improved in general health, significantly decreased in pain, and significantly decreased in arthritic disability immediately following the education. Self-efficacy and health perceptions increased for both groups but not significantly. The participants’ health behaviors showed significantly fewer physician visits and significantly increased time spent performing stretching and strengthening exercise and time spent performing aerobic exercise. No group differences were found in the frequency of arthritis physician visits.

The improvements seen immediately after the SASMEP participation were not reflected in the post one-year scores. No significant differences were found for the participants’ health status or health behaviors one year following the education. Health status and health behaviors did not return below baseline scores after one year suggesting the participants’ health, although not improved, did not deteriorate. Therefore, the SASMEP education provided short-term health benefits for older Hispanic adults with arthritis, but not long-term health benefits.




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