“I Have to Age in This Body”: Lesbian and Bisexual Older Women's Perspectives on a Health Behavior Intervention

Jane A. McElroy, Karla T. Washington, Jenna J. Wintemberg, Amy Williams, Sarah Davis Redman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background Despite the body of literature that suggests lesbian and bisexual (LB) women are more likely to be overweight or obese than heterosexual women and the overwhelming evidence that tailored interventions are most effective at changing behavior, a vacuum of culturally appropriate programs designed specifically for LB women still exists. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively examine LB women's perceptions of Project LOLA (Living Out, Living Actively), a 16-week intentional health promotion program tailored specifically for LB women aged 40 and older. Methods Researchers conducting this qualitative descriptive study employed a template approach to text analysis to capture insights into participants' perceptions of Project LOLA. Data were derived from two primary sources: weekly support group facilitator notes of participants' comments and participant focus group interviews conducted at the conclusion of the study. PEN-3, an ecologically oriented model that identifies individual, family, community, and systemic influences on behavior change, guided the analysis. Findings Study participants emphasized the importance of incorporating culture into health interventions for LB women. They valued having a safe space to talk about their health issues and health-related changes. Interacting with people who understood the culturally specific norms of the LB community was cited as particularly beneficial. Conclusions Interventions tailored to LB women may generate stronger results and/or be better received if they are designed in a culturally relevant and supportive manner. Such interventions hold promise as a tool to help address health disparities faced by this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S63-S70
JournalWomen's Health Issues
StatePublished - Jul 7 2016


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