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“Youth Are More Aware and Intelligent than Imagined”: The Mountain Air Youth Photovoice Project

1
College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
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Center for Health Equity Transformation, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
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School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX 76107, USA
4
College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3829; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203829
Received: 27 August 2019 / Revised: 20 September 2019 / Accepted: 7 October 2019 / Published: 11 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Appalachian Kentucky reports some of the highest rates of respiratory illness in the United States, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. While smoking rates are high in the region, unexplained variation remains, and community-engaged research approaches are warranted to identify contributing factors. The Mountain Air Project’s community advisory board recommended that investigators invite youth to provide their perspectives on possible contributing factors to respiratory illness, and we undertook an exploratory study to determine the utility of photovoice to elicit such perspectives with this population. While photovoice has been employed for other youth-focused health studies in Appalachia, to our knowledge, this work represents the region’s first environmental study using photovoice among youth. Over eight weeks, ten participants (age 12–18) represented their perspectives through photographs and accompanying narratives. A brief thematic content analysis of the youth narratives that accompanied the photos revealed three primary themes of environmental determinants of respiratory illness. These themes included compromises community members make regarding respiratory health in order to secure a livelihood; tension between cultural legacies and respiratory health; and consequences of geographic forces. This study demonstrates the value of incorporating youth perspectives in environmental health research, and that photovoice was a valuable approach to elicit such perspectives. View Full-Text
Keywords: Appalachia; youth; respiratory; community-based participatory research (CBPR); photovoice; environmental health; health disparities Appalachia; youth; respiratory; community-based participatory research (CBPR); photovoice; environmental health; health disparities
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Cardarelli, K.M.; Paul, M.; May, B.; Dunfee, M.; Browning, S.; Schoenberg, N. “Youth Are More Aware and Intelligent than Imagined”: The Mountain Air Youth Photovoice Project. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3829.

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