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Stroke Prevention in Middle-Aged and Older Arab Immigrant Women: Emphasizing Strengths and Identifying Challenges Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Salma, Jordana M
Supervisor and department
Ogilvie, Linda (Nursing)
Examining committee member and department
Salami, Bukola (Nursing)
Meleis, Afaf (Nursing,external)
Hegadoren, Kathleen (Nursing)
Keating, Norah (Human Ecology)
Hunter, Kathleen (Nursing)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Arab immigrants constitute a minority group that is increasing in Canada. Minimal literature exists on Arab immigrant women’s experiences of ageing while managing health concerns. The evidence suggests that stroke risk factors are on the rise in this population with a lack of supportive resources to address stroke prevention. The aim of the dissertation research project was to better understand middle-aged and older Arab immigrant women’s experiences of engaging in health-promoting practices in the context of stroke prevention. A life course perspective that incorporates elements from feminist and transnational theory was used to look at the social, economic, personal, and structural influences that shape women’s experiences across different migration contexts. Sixteen women from the Levant region living in an urban Canadian center were recruited from a mosque and an Islamic community center. An interpretive descriptive approach was used by a bilingual researcher to guide data collection and analysis in the Arabic language. Data collection involved administering health and demographic questionnaires and conducting semi-structured interviews. Audiotaped interviews were transcribed verbatim, followed by thematic data analysis. Final themes and exemplars were translated into English by a certified translator. The dissertation is composed of five chapters: an introductory chapter, three core paper chapters and a concluding chapter. Chapter one and five, the introduction and conclusion, present an overview of the study process and theoretical approach, implications for research, education, and practice, and study limitations and dissemination goals. Chapter two is a reflection on ethical tensions encountered in the research process, with a focus on issues of identity, social positioning, and discourses about Arab Muslim communities. Study findings are discussed in chapters three and four to include a transnational life course analysis of social dimensions of health and an intersectional analysis of women’s experiences with stroke prevention. In chapter three social dimensions of health are addressed in relation to social roles, social support, and transnational connections. Women’s stories extend beyond specific practices of stroke prevention to include experiences of maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health across the life course. Chapter four focuses on women’s experiences with stroke prevention in relation to expanding health literacy, making healthy lifestyle choices, and managing chronic illnesses. An intersectionality lens is used to highlight structural barriers and the discourses that reinforce these barriers within the Canadian context. A fourth paper is included in the appendices as a work in progress that describes considerations and challenges for data collection and analysis in research with Arab immigrant populations. Overall the dissertation presents methodological and ethical approaches used in the research process, recounts narratives of Arab immigrant women’s health concerns while ageing in Canada, and draws from these narratives to identify multi-level, multi-dimensional influences on Arab immigrant women’s health.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication
Salma, J., Ogilvie, L., Keating, N., & Hunter, K. F. (2017). A bicultural researcher's reflections on ethical research practices with Muslim immigrant women: merging boundaries and challenging binaries. Advances in Nursing Science,40(2), 109-121.

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