Participants’ perspectives of a fall prevention exercise program in older Arab Americans: A focus group study

Lan Yao, Suha A. Kridli, Juliana L. Kishek


Background and objective: Physical exercise is an important intervention to maintain health, reduce falls and improve quality-of-life outcomes in older adults. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries, and the use of Tai Chi exercise is well-supported by the general older population. Currently, there is little evidence to support the acceptance of Tai Chi by Arab Americans who have no cultural ties to Tai Chi. It is important to understand the perspective of participants in order to gain insight into the attitudes and opinions of the target group.  Purpose: To explore participants' perspectives in a small group setting about the implementation of a culturally sensitive Tai Chi fall prevention group exercise program.

Methods: Participants were eight older Arab American women who completed a 12-week Tai Chi fall prevention exercise program at a non-for-profit Arab community center. A semi-structured interview and focus group study was conducted with the participants and was audiotaped. The audio recordings were translated into English, transcribed, and analyzed for emergent themes.

Results: Participants’ views of the program were positive. The key elements that contributed to the positive outcomes reported by participants were the characteristics of Tai Chi, the Tai Chi instructor, and the use of bilingual staff as a facilitator. The data showed three themes of self-reported benefits, including prevention awareness, physical benefits and mental health benefits, and two program-related factors: program barriers and promoters.

Conclusions: Findings indicated that the Tai Chi program implemented in a culturally sensitive manner can be accepted by older Arab American women. Collaborating with a community-based organization and using bilingual staff from the same culture are key factors to promote the success of the program.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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