Research Among Haitian Village Women: Implications for the Nurse's Role in Health Education


Address correspondence to: Marilyne Backlund Gustafson, R.N., Ph.D., University of Minnesota School of Nursing, 6–101 Unit F., 308 Harvard Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455. Telephone (612) 373-4068.


The study questioned whether pictorial messages are accurately recognized and self-explanatory to nonliterate Haitian village women. Theories of visual literacy from anthropology, psychology, and international health education formed the base for the study. A descriptive survey method was employed with a structured interview used to gather responses to health education pictures and demographic/life history data. Findings indicated significant differences in recognition traceable to content and complexity of the pictures and place of residence. Schooling was less important; and age and employment as a maid had no significant impact. Responses of urban dwellers were more accurate than those of rural women. The conclusions were that baseline studies and pretesting are essential if visual media are to be used with nonliterates. These findings were seen as important for teaching clients from ethnic groups or immigrants with a similar lack of experience with pictures.