Authors: Michaela Poitevien and Staja Booker
Faculty Mentor: Staja Booker, PhD, RN
College: College of Nursing
Evidence suggests that osteoarthritis (OA) is the primary cause of pain and disability among middle-aged and older persons (aged 50-90). A more detailed perspective into this demographic reveals that there is a higher burden of disabling OA in African Americans within the United States. In particular, knee OA is characterized by musculoskeletal pain that significantly impacts function and mobility, eventually leading to disability and an overall reduction in quality of life. This qualitative content analysis gained an understanding of 30 African American and White older adults’ experiences living with OA and portrayed the impact of race on variances in perspectives of disability. We framed our analysis using the concept of disablement. Results show that OA is debilitating, but not to the point where a majority of either race consider it a disability but rather that “pain and disability is more than physical; it is a mental-state of mind.” Conclusively, we are looking to learn how OA influences one’s self-perception as able-bodied and how race acts as a factor in one’s lack of mobility or awareness thereof.