Vol. 2 No. 1 (2023): Advancing Quality Care and Patient Safety

Original Research Article

Intergenerational perceptions of health and health research among African American, Caribbean, and Hispanic/Latinx American older and younger adults

Joan A. Vaccaro
Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA
Donna Z. Shambley-Ebron
University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221, USA
Fern J. Webb
Center for Health Equity & Engagement Research (CHEER), University of Florida, College of Medicine, Jacksonville, FL 32209, USA
Donna F. Neff
University of Central Florida, Academic Health Science Center, Orlando, FL 32827, College of Nursing, USA
Trudy R. Gaillard
Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA


Intergenerational perceptions, health research, Afro-Caribbean, Hispanic/Latinx, age-related health issues

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Accepted for publication: 2023-05-14
Peer reviewed: Yes

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Background: African Americans (AA), Caribbeans (CA), and Hispanic/Latinx Americans (HL) experience higher rates of poor health and disease as compared to their non-Hispanic White counterparts. Research participation by older, ethnically diverse adults is essential in the effort to reduce these health disparities; yet they have lower enrollment and retention in health research. Little is known concerning enablers and barriers for older adults of diverse ethnic backgrounds living in the United States to participate in health research. 

Objective: The aim of this study was to discover the generational perceptions of health issues and research by race and age of AA, CA, and HL.

Methods: Recruitment was by multiple methods of community outreach. Induction of themes was by constant comparison and thematic analysis of 86 transcripts from focus groups of three ethnic minorities by age: N = 363 older (65 years or greater) and younger adults (25-64 years).

Results: There were both similarities and differences by race and age concerning perceptions of health and health research. Younger adults expressed a concern for lack of communication of family health history by earlier generations. Older adults value their privacy concerning their health. A common theme was that participation in health research is everyone’s responsibility to help family, brown and black communities for the greater good.

Conclusions: This study reinforced the differences in health and health research perceptions among ethnic minorities by generation, implying the need for involving the community’s feedback in the design of health studies. Further implications are the consideration of enablers and barriers toward health research participation as a potential method to reduce health disparities.

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Funding Description

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Aging of the [email protected] under Award Number R24AG067951. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Prior to issuing a press release concerning the outcome of this research, please notify the NIH awarding IC in advance to allow for coordination.


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Declaration of Conflicting Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.



Authors’ Contributions

TG presented the initial concept for the grant, and all authors worked on aspects of refining the concept and materials. JAV developed a modified research question from the original specific aims, did the initial coding for the modified research question and arrived at themes. TG and DZS-E independently coded and developed themes. TG and DZS-E met with JAV to refine themes. JAV wrote the first manuscript draft, and TG, DZS-E, FJW, and DN contributed to the intellectual content by confirming the quotes matched the themes and critically reviewing several drafts. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Data Availability Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author, [TG], upon reasonable request.

Declaration of the Use of AI in Scientific Writing

Nothing to declare.


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