Academic journal article International Journal of Men's Health

Men's Health: Disparities in Confidence to Manage Health

Academic journal article International Journal of Men's Health

Men's Health: Disparities in Confidence to Manage Health

Article excerpt

This study examined the association between health information seeking and confidence to manage health among men using multiple binary logistic regressions. Study data were drawn from the 2007 Health Tracking Household Survey. The analytical sample included 6,478 men, 18 years and older. Health information seeking was associated with lower odds of confidence to follow through on medical care needed at home. African American and Hispanic men had lower odds than white men to agree to be confident to follow through on medical care needed at home. Hispanic men also had lower odds than white men to agree to be confident to know when to seek medical care and when they can handle themselves.

Keywords: men, health information, confidence, self-management, race

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Disparities in health care and health outcomes have been identified across race/ethnicity with minority men fating worst on many health outcomes (Adler & Rehkopf, 2008; Satcher, 2001; D.R. Williams, 2001). Hispanic and African American men have a significantly higher incidence of end-stage renal disease than White men (Karter et al., 2002). African American men in contrast to White men, are more likely to present clinically with more advanced stages of prostate cancer and with higher grade tumors (Alejandro Diaz, 2006). Moreover, African American men tend to have a higher incidence for conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and lung, colorectal and prostate cancers than White men (Harvey & Alston, 2011). African American men also have a shorter lifespan than any other group in the United States (Harvey & Alston). The literature shows minority men's health is at a crisis point due to the disparate burden of the diseases compared to white men and further research should be conducted to understand the factors that influence poor health outcomes of minority men. Health behavior is a function of health status (L.J. Brown & Bond, 2008) hence, it is important to understand the health beliefs and behaviors of men across race and ethnicity in order to improve their health outcomes.

Self-management positively influences health outcome by increasing persons' involvement in the control of their health conditions (Chen et al., 2012). Negative emotional states, social factors, and chronic life stressors have been found to hinder men's ability to manage their health (C.T. Brown & Emberton, 2009). Additionally, there are significant racial/ethnic differences in perceived difficulty with self-care behaviors (Aguilar, 2012; Liburd, Namageyo-Funa, & Jack Jr, 2007; Misra & Lager, 2009); which, for men, is significantly influenced by self-confidence (Loeb, Steffensmeier, & Kassab, 2011). Self-confidence refers to the belief that one is capable of performing those behaviors required to attain a certain outcome and could be applied specifically to beliefs about self-care behaviors (Joekes, Van Elderen, & Schreurs, 2007). Research has also found that men with high levels of self-confidence were able to engage in more health promoting and monitoring behaviors. Confidence in self-management is influenced by patient empowerment (K. Williams & Bond, 2002).

Patients who are well-informed are more capable of monitoring their health, coping with their illness, and adhering to treatment (Sanders Thompson, Talley, Caito, & Kreuter, 2009). Health information seeking has increased in the United States and it is associated with patient empowerment, positive health management, patient follow up, and patient treatment decision making (Bartlett & Coulson, 2011; Tu & Cohen, 2008). Rooks et al. found health information seeking was associated with changing approach to managing health and better understanding how to treat illness (Rooks, Wiltshire, Elder, BeLue, & Gary, 2012). However, studies have found racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to use the health information sought during the medical encounter (K. …

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