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Newly Postmenarcheal Adolescents' Understanding of Menarche and Menstruation Across Race and Income Level as Defined by Qualification Status for Free or Reduced Lunches

White, Lisandra Rodriguez (2009) Newly Postmenarcheal Adolescents' Understanding of Menarche and Menstruation Across Race and Income Level as Defined by Qualification Status for Free or Reduced Lunches. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This cross-sectional, quantitative and qualitative study examines the roles of race and income level in adolescent girls' knowledge about menstruation, feelings of preparation for menarche, and attitudes toward menstruation. Participants included 169 newly postmenarcheal adolescents between the ages of 11 and 15. Participants were categorized into four groups: Caucasians from higher income homes (N = 37), Caucasians from lower income homes (N = 46), African Americans from higher income homes (N = 33), and African Americans from lower income homes (N = 53). Race was determined via self-report. Income level was determined by a self-report qualification status for free or reduced lunches. The outcomes indicated that, overall, participants' lacked accurate menstrual knowledge and felt unprepared for menarche. However, the overall menstrual attitudes reported by participants were ambivalent, indicating that menstrual attitudes do not appear to be negatively affected by a lack of menstrual knowledge and preparation. Additionally, by themselves, race and income level do not seem to play a substantial role in adolescents' understanding of menarche and menstruation. They do, however, seem to interact, with the real differences lying between higher income Caucasians and each of the other three racial and income level groupings. As a group, the responses of higher income Caucasian participants stood apart from and indicated that they faired better than the other race and income level groupings. Furthermore, participants appeared to incorporate menstrual taboos into how they approached learning about menstruation and preparing for menarche, but not necessarily in their development of menstrual attitudes. Results from this study could be useful for health care providers and educators for improving ways in which information about menstruation is addressed and disseminated. The delivery method of information can be tailored so that it is better received by different racial and income groups. These results could also prove useful in the development of programs targeted to specific racial or income level groups to educate and empower adolescent girls about menstruation and their health.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
White, Lisandra
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPizzolato, Jane
Committee MemberBaker, Carol Eceb@pitt.eduCEB
Committee MemberVondra, Joan
Committee MemberStubbs, Margaret
Date: 15 January 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 17 September 2008
Approval Date: 15 January 2009
Submission Date: 14 November 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Psychology in Education
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: adolescent; attitudes toward menstruation; feelings of preparation for menarche; income level; knowledge about menstruation; menarche; menstruation; race; socioeconomic status; understanding of menarche; understanding of menstruation
Other ID:, etd-11142008-190635
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:04
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:51


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