Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Health

Advisor

Richard Jimenez

Abstract

Numerous studies have focused on the effectiveness of community health worker (CHW) programs in producing positive health behaviors and health outcomes for the clients CHWs serve; however, there has been a gap in the literature regarding how the health of HIV + CHWs is impacted by their jobs. A phenomenological design was used to gain insight into the lived experiences of HIV+ CHWs (HIVCHW) who provided services to HIV positive clients. Fifteen HIVCHW were recruited using criteria and snowball techniques. Data were collected via audio recorded personal interviews regarding respondentsâ?? perceptions of their work and how it impacted their own health and wellbeing. The data were organized by hand creating charts with pen and paper. Lazarusâ??s theory of stress and coping was used to understand the data and aided in the analysis. The key findings indicated that while the majority of participants had an overall positive perception of the experience of being HIVCHWs, they also indicated that being a CHW impacted their health and well-being. Stress and stressful situations were among the impacts most often referenced by the study participants. The study is socially significant because it may offer the workforce of HIVCHWs empowerment to self-advocate for tools such as stress and time management training and mentors to support healthy work-life balance. In addition, this study may help to prevent or reduce rates of adverse health outcomes such as pain and burnout that HIVCHWs reported experiencing.

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