Differences in community members’ and academics’ perceptions of factors contributing to food insecurity and obesity among Mexican immigrants: An application of concept mapping

Online Publication Date:
October 28, 2021
Publication Status:
Awaiting Publication
Published Article MUSE Link:

** Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) 15.4 December 2021. All rights reserved.**

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) has been identified as an approach to research where community members, organizational representatives, and academic researchers all participate in the research process. As research partners, community members and academics may find some common ground in identification of problems, but frequently differ in their perception of the cause of those problems and struggle with arriving at a “shared interpretation” of the data. Failure to account for these differences ultimately leads to issues with the design of interventions. Group concept mapping (GCM) is a rigorous mixed-methods approach that lends itself well to the conduct of CBPR and the results can be used to systematically compare the conceptualized models of different groups of participants. Building from a previous study, where GCM was utilized to describe the factors felt to contribute to weight gain and obesity among Mexican immigrant families, this study described and statistically evaluated the different conceptualizations between community members and academicians. Utilizing a Procrustean comparison approach and permutation strategy, we assessed the spatial correspondence of concept maps generated by the two independent Community members and Academic groups. The results indicated the conceptualized patterns, represented by the two multidimensional scaling configurations (i.e., concept maps) produced by Community and Academic groups, were more similar than expected by chance, although meaningful differences existed. We describe how these differences in perspective have important implications for the cooperative development of an intervention addressing the multiple factors related to the perceived causes of obesity.