Occupational performance of Mexican Americans with end-stage-renal-disease living on dialysis in the lower Rio Grande Valley

Shirley A Wells, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The number of people with end-stage-renal-disease (ESRD) and living with dialysis is a growing public health concern. Most studies about the impact of ESRD on people’s lives have placed attention on the medical and clinical dimension of ESRD. Very few have given attention to the environmental and cultural context in which people with ESRD live, the adaptation that these individuals must make to adjust to living with ESRD and dialysis, or the occupations in which they engage. Additionally these studies have not focused on Mexican Americans who are disproportionately affected by this illness and condition. This qualitative study explores the needs, perceptions, and issues facing Mexican Americans with ESRD living with dialysis as well as their families. Participants were residents of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and included individuals with ESRD, family members, and the healthcare providers who give care to them. The Health Belief Model and Lifestyle Performance Model served as the theoretical frameworks. The study also explored the daily occupations of this population. In-depth interviews were conducted on 15 Mexican Americans with ESRD living with dialysis, 15 family members, and six dialysis healthcare providers. A video documentary of the day-to-day life of three individuals with ESRD and their families was produced. Such data do not currently exist and will greatly enhance the understanding of the human experience of living with ESRD. The results suggest that a collective effort of the family unit is at work to deal with the demands of dialysis. An imbalance and disharmony exist among the occupational activities, which creates occupational deprivation and disruption for both the individuals and family members. Implications for practice and recommendations for further research are described.

Subject Area

Physical therapy|Public health|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Wells, Shirley A, "Occupational performance of Mexican Americans with end-stage-renal-disease living on dialysis in the lower Rio Grande Valley" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3350230.