Date of Conferral
Lyme disease is the most prevalent arthropod-borne (tick) disease in North America. The disease is more prevalent in some Eastern and Central states than in Western states. The general problem is that, in southern California especially in Los Angeles County, both patients and practitioners fail to recognize the disease, resulting in misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. Consequently, the patient may develop the long-term, chronic Lyme disease (CLD). The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the impact of CLD on the health-promoting behaviors of ethnically diverse young adults from similar educational and socioeconomic backgrounds based on their lived experiences. The geographical focus of this study was restricted to Los Angeles County, California, because researchers have demonstrated a general lack of awareness of CLD as well as a gap when it comes to representing CLD clients from diverse ethical and socio-economic groupings. Data were collected from face-to-face semistructured interviews of 9 participants, based on the health belief model constructs on an ethnically diverse group of young adults clinically diagnosed with CLD. Data were coded and explored for themes. Key results of the study include the existence of excellent health prior to CLD, marked declined in health status because of the disease not being recognized or properly treated, and the use of various modalities of treatment including conventional antibiotic treatment and complementary and alternative treatments to combat the disease. Social implications of this study include increased awareness of physicians and the community in the Los Angeles County of Lyme Disease as an emerging epidemic, development of preventive measures against this disease, and generation of rich data and propositions regarding CLD for further research.