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Student health and wellness at a state university in Riobamba, Ecuador: an exploratory study of sexual health, behavior, and substance use

Tiberi, Orrin F (2014) Student health and wellness at a state university in Riobamba, Ecuador: an exploratory study of sexual health, behavior, and substance use. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Objective: Decisions made from the ages of 19 to 24 are important to the future health and wellness of the individual. Nowhere is this truer than in the education system, where a mistimed or uninformed decision can have lifelong repercussions. The aim of this study is to explore the health and wellness of the student body at the Escuela Superior Politècnica De Chimborazo (ESPOCH), a state run university in Riobamba, Ecuador.
Methods: A survey tool was created in partnership with the wellness department at the ESPOCH. The “Sexual Health Survey of 2013” consisted of 35 questions in five domains: demographics, sexual health, tobacco use, drug use, and alcohol use. A proportional sampling frame was used to collect data from students in 30 classrooms at the ESPOCH.
Results: Six hundred and forty-five participants of a student population of approximately 12,300 were surveyed. The response rate was 88%, with one refusal and 87 students absent the day of sampling. Analysis was conducted for differences in gender and ethnicity. The variation between the two ethnicities in the region, Indigenous and Mestizo, are mostly associated with behavioral differences instead of demographic factors. An analysis of males and females found differences across the spectrum of variables, including both demography and behavior. Three behavioral areas were analyzed within gender, comparing ‘users’ and abstainers: tobacco use, alcohol use, and sexual experience. Though each area had multiple significant differences, the analysis of sexual experience yielded the most significant variation between comparison groups. However, males and females differed substantially in each of the three areas.
Conclusion: Though there are many similarities between the variables analyzed, there were sufficient differences to warrant population specific programming. Specifically, there are marked differences between males and females that do not exist between ethnicities. Among the gender analysis, behaviors varied much more than demographic information suggesting that outside influences such as culture and family influences are influencing the students decisions more than immutable characteristics. This should inform future health programming done for the student population. By focusing resources on populations that engage in risky behavior (alcohol use, tobacco use, and unsafe sexual activity), the ESPOCH can maximize its impact on student health.
Public Health Significance: Alcohol use, tobacco use and sexual experience are often found in groups within the sample of students at the ESPOCH. A student who has consumed alcohol is much more likely to be sexually active and to have used drugs and tobacco. It can be concluded, then, that the students who have sought out help for a substance use issue would be good candidates for other programs. By recognizing that risky behaviors could be linked in the population as a whole, and knowing the association between behaviors, the wellness department can make well-informed decisions for health interventions and programs.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tiberi, Orrin Foft3@pitt.eduOFT3
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberMarkovic, Ninaninam@pitt.eduNINAM
Committee MemberRussell, Joanne Ljoanner@pitt.eduJOANNER
Committee MemberBear, Todd Mtobst2@pitt.eduTOBST2
Date: 27 June 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 April 2014
Approval Date: 27 June 2014
Submission Date: 24 March 2014
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 101
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ecuador, Young Adult, Sexual Health, Tobacco Use, Alcohol Use, Condom Use, State University
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2014 22:41
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:18


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