Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Dr. Ruth L. Jenkins


Jean Bachman, DSN, RN

Kuei-Hsiang Hseuh, PhD, RN

Margaret Ulione, PhD, RN


PURPOSE: King's Theory of Goal Attainment guided this study exploring the physical sensation of dyspnea that obese women feel and how it affects their functioning. BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE: Obesity prevalence has doubled since 1980. Current research is investigating how to reduce prevalence and examining obesity's impact on the respiratory system. Little research was found that investigated the impact obesity has on routine activities because of dyspena and function and whether physical activity has a mitigating effect. METHODS: A comparative descriptive research design was used. A survey of dyspnea felt during routine activities was created; IRB approval to survey community-dwelling women was then obtained. Flyers asking women to complete the survey online were distributed at one inner-city and one rural church and weight-loss clinics then emailed to female college students and a Yahoo list serve. The survey was housed on SurveyMonkey; 279 surveys were completed then filtered for a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2, age 20 to 56 years, and without heart disease or chronic obstructive disease. RESULTS: Final N=84. Average subject was 39-years-old, non-Hispanic white with a post-secondary education, an annual household income of $50,000 to $100,000, and a mean BMI of 36.66 (SD, 6.61). Significant relationships (p < 0.01) were a low positive correlation between the BMI and perceptions of dyspnea (POD) during routine activity (r = .481), specifically between obesity classes I and III (p < 0.001) and classes II and III (p = 0.026), the BMI and NYHA functional classifications (r = .479), and a moderately positive correlation between functional limitations and POD during routine activity (r = .546). Regression of POD during routine activity during routine activity for a given BMI accounted for 23% of the variance (adjusted R2 = 0.23, F = 24.68, p < 0.000; 95% CI, 0.55-1.29). Neither an asthma diagnosis nor the amount of moderately intense physical activity correlated with any other variable. IMPLICATIONS: The functional status and BMI classification may be helpful additions to an assessment because obese women with any functional limitation may have difficulty doing routine activities, especially those in obesity classification III.

OCLC Number


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Nursing Commons