Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Aging Studies

Major Professor

Jessica M. McIlvane, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

William E. Haley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Victor Molinari, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brent J. Small, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tamara A. Baker, Ph.D.


arthritis intervention, arthritis self-management program, cultural sensitivity


Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis in older adults, often results in pain, disability and poor psychological well-being. Compared to White adults, Black adults consistently report more pain, more activity limitations, and have different perceptions about OA. Racial disparities also exist in treatments, and prevalence of arthritis. It is imperative to have effective interventions and treatment options for older Blacks. Yet, few arthritis interventions have included Black participants in their samples, and nearly all of those have failed to report separate analyses indicating the effectiveness for Black adults, thus leaving a gap in the literature. The purpose of this study is to begin to identify factors needed to design arthritis interventions that will reduce barriers and increase appeal to Blacks.

The present dissertation consists of one study with two related parts. The first part consists of a needs assessment that examined intervention preferences, barriers to healthcare, knowledge about interventions and care, utilization, and health beliefs among Black and White adults with self-reported physician-diagnosed OA. The second part evaluated materials used in an existing arthritis intervention for acceptability. The study was based on the Arthritis Self Management Program (ASMP). Frequencies were examined to determine needs related to arthritis healthcare of Blacks and Whites recruited from the community. Independent samples t-tests and Pearson’s Chi-square analyses were examined to determine group differences between Blacks and Whites.

Blacks were more likely to report cost, lack of trust, fear of being the only person of their race, lack of recommendation from their doctor, and lack of recommendation of a family or friends as barriers to participating in arthritis interventions. In addition, Blacks were more likely to prefer the intervention content, structure and delivery, and arthritis resources presented in the needs assessment in comparison to Whites. As for the evaluation of the intervention materials, Blacks and Whites were similar on most sections.

Based on our findings we suggest that practical adaptations (e.g., cost) be made to existing arthritis interventions to increase cultural sensitivity. Such adaptations have the potential to minimize barriers and offer a program that would be appealing to Blacks with OA.