Spatio-temporal Variation of Nitrate Levels in Groundwater in Texas, 1970 to 2010

Spatio-temporal Variation of Nitrate Levels in Groundwater in Texas, 1970 to 2010

Date: December 2012
Creator: Rice, Susan C.
Description: This study looks at spatial variation of groundwater nitrate in Texas and its fluctuations at 10 year increments using data from the Texas Water Development Board. While groundwater nitrate increased in the Ogallala and Seymour aquifers across the time period, the overall rate in Texas appears to be declining as time progresses. However, the available data is limited. Findings show that a much more targeted, knowledge based strategy for sampling would not only reduce the cost of water quality analysis but also reduce the risk of error in these analyses by providing a more realistic picture of the spatial variation of problem contaminants, thereby giving decision-makers a clearer picture on how best to handle the reduction and elimination of problem contaminants.
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GIS application in emergency management of terrorism events on the University of North Texas campus.

GIS application in emergency management of terrorism events on the University of North Texas campus.

Date: August 2008
Creator: Tsang, Yuenting
Description: This thesis presents a Web-based geographic information system (GIS) application for campus emergency management that allows users to visualize, integrate, and analyze student population, facilities, and hazard data for efficient emergency management of University of North Texas before, during, and after a terrorism event. End-users can locate and search the source area of an event on a digital map from the ArcIMS-based Website. The website displays corresponding population information and attributes of impacted facilities in real time. School officials and first responders including police, firefighters and medical personnel can promptly plan the appropriate rescue and response procedures according to the displayed results. Finally, the thesis outlines the limitations of Web-based GIS in the arena of campus emergency management.
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An Investigation of the Relationship between HIV and Prison Facilities in Texas: The Geographic Variation and Vulnerable Neighborhood Characteristics

An Investigation of the Relationship between HIV and Prison Facilities in Texas: The Geographic Variation and Vulnerable Neighborhood Characteristics

Date: August 2011
Creator: Kutch, Libbey
Description: Previous research suggests that prisons may be fueling the spread of HIV infection in the general population. In 2005, the HIV rate was more than 2.5 times higher in US prison populations. Environmental factors in prisons such as illicit drug use and unprotected sexual activities can be conducive for HIV transmission. Because the vast majority of prison inmates are incarcerated for less than three years, transmission of HIV between prison inmates and members of the general population may occur at a high rate. The environment in which an individual lives and the entities that comprise it affect the health of that person. Thus the location of prisons within communities, as well as socio-demographic characteristics may influence the geography of HIV infection. HIV surveillance data, obtained from the Texas Department of State Health Services, were used to investigate the relationship between the location of prison units in Texas and HIV infection rates in the surrounding zip codes. The results suggest that HIV prevalence rates are higher among geographic areas in close proximity to a prison unit. With continued behavioral risks and low treatment adherence rates among individuals infected with HIV, there is a possibility of increased HIV prevalence. Vulnerable places, locations ...
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The Geography of Maternal Mortality in Nigeria

The Geography of Maternal Mortality in Nigeria

Date: May 2012
Creator: Ebeniro, Jane
Description: Maternal mortality is the leading cause of death among women in Nigeria, especially women aged between 15 and 19 years. This research examines the geography of maternal mortality in Nigeria and the role of cultural and religious practices, socio-economic inequalities, urbanization, access to pre and postnatal care in explaining the spatial pattern. State-level data on maternal mortality rates and predictor variables are presented. Access to healthcare, place of residence and religion explains over 74 percent of the spatial pattern of maternal mortality in Nigeria, especially in the predominantly Muslim region of northern Nigeria where poverty, early marriage and childbirth are at its highest, making them a more vulnerable population. Targeting vulnerable populations in policy-making procedures may be an important strategy for reducing maternal mortality, which would also be more successful if other socio-economic issues such as poverty, religious and health care issues are promptly addressed as well.
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A Multiscalar Analysis of Buruli Ulcer in Ghana: Environmental and Behavioral Factors in Disease Prevalence

A Multiscalar Analysis of Buruli Ulcer in Ghana: Environmental and Behavioral Factors in Disease Prevalence

Date: May 2012
Creator: Ferring, David
Description: Buruli ulcer (BU), an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, is the third most common mycobacterial disease after leprosy and tuberculosis and a WHO-defined neglected tropical disease. Despite years of research, the mode of transmission of BU remains unknown. This master’s thesis provides an integrated spatial analysis of disease dynamics in Ghana, West Africa, an area of comparatively high BU incidence. Within a case/matched control study design, environmental factors associated with BU infection and spatial behaviors are investigated to uncover possible links between individual daily activity spaces and terrains of risk across disturbed landscapes. This research relies upon archival and field-collected data and analyses conducted with geographical information systems (GIS).
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Distribution and Probable Sources of Nitrate in the Seymour Aquifer, North Central Texas, USA

Distribution and Probable Sources of Nitrate in the Seymour Aquifer, North Central Texas, USA

Access: Use of this item is restricted to the UNT Community.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Hillin, Clifford K.
Description: This study utilized GIS and statistical methods to map the spatial variability of nitrate and related groundwater constituents in 30 counties above the Seymour Aquifer, analyze temporal patterns of nitrate pollution, identify probable sources of pollution, and recommend water development strategies to minimize exposure to nitrate and reduce future aquifer contamination. Nitrate concentrations in excess of 44 mg/L (US EPA limit) were commonly observed in the Seymour Aquifer region, especially in the central agricultural belt. Data indicated that this is an ongoing problem in the Seymour Aquifer and that agricultural activity and rural septic systems are the likely sources of the nitrate. Inconclusive results emphasized the need for a more comprehensive spatial and temporal water quality monitoring.
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Minority Hiv Rates, Inequality, and the Politics of Aids Funding

Minority Hiv Rates, Inequality, and the Politics of Aids Funding

Date: August 2012
Creator: Miles, Thomas
Description: Since the 1990s, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has increasingly impacted minority groups in the United States, particularly African Americans. Why is this happening? Comparative studies of developing nations have convincingly established a relationship between concentrated poverty, ethnic boundaries, and lack of effective governmental response as contributing to high levels of infection in those countries. To date, however, no study has sought to apply these insights to the American context. This dissertation endeavors to show that, first, marginalization of U.S. sub-groups most at risk of infection is largely a product of poor health outcomes associated with concentrated urban poverty and economic stratification. Second, this sub-group marginalization is exacerbated by the politics of retrenchment which increasingly privatizes risks onto individuals, states, and non-governmental providers. The net result of these changes is a U.S. health care system too fractured to recognize and respond to changes in HIV/AIDS demographics.
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Traditional Medicine: a Blessing or Bane? The Case of Ghana

Traditional Medicine: a Blessing or Bane? The Case of Ghana

Date: August 1996
Creator: Sakyi-Addo, Isaac
Description: The study examines the socio-demographic characteristics of Traditional Medical Practitioners in Ghana. Their attitudes towards collaboration with biomedical practitioners, their associations, and regulation is also discussed. Data for the study was obtained from a Survey of Traditional Medical Practitioners in Ghana.
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The Impact Of Land Use And Land Cover Change On The Spatial Distribution Of Buruli Ulcer In Southwest Ghana

The Impact Of Land Use And Land Cover Change On The Spatial Distribution Of Buruli Ulcer In Southwest Ghana

Date: December 2011
Creator: Ruckthongsook, Warangkana
Description: Buruli ulcer (BU) is an environmental bacterium caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans. Modes of transmission and hosts of the disease remain unknown. The purposes of this study are to explore the environmental factors that are possibly explain the spatial distribution of BU, to predict BU cases by using the environmental factors, and to investigate the impact of land use and land cover change on the BU distribution. The study area covers the southwest portion of Ghana, 74 districts in 6 regions. The results show that the highest endemic areas occur in the center and expand to the southern portion of the study area. Statistically, the incidence rates of BU are positively correlated to the percentage of forest cover and inversely correlated to the percentages of grassland, soil, and urban areas in the study area. That is, forest is the most important environmental risk factor in this study. Model from zero-inflated Poisson regression is used in this paper to explain the impact of each land use and land cover type on the spatial distribution of BU. The results confirm that the changes of land use and land cover affect the spatial distribution of BU in the study area.
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Modeling Infectious Disease Spread Using Global Stochastic Field Simulation

Modeling Infectious Disease Spread Using Global Stochastic Field Simulation

Date: August 2006
Creator: Venkatachalam, Sangeeta
Description: Susceptibles-infectives-removals (SIR) and its derivatives are the classic mathematical models for the study of infectious diseases in epidemiology. In order to model and simulate epidemics of an infectious disease, a global stochastic field simulation paradigm (GSFS) is proposed, which incorporates geographic and demographic based interactions. The interaction measure between regions is a function of population density and geographical distance, and has been extended to include demographic and migratory constraints. The progression of diseases using GSFS is analyzed, and similar behavior to the SIR model is exhibited by GSFS, using the geographic information systems (GIS) gravity model for interactions. The limitations of the SIR and similar models of homogeneous population with uniform mixing are addressed by the GSFS model. The GSFS model is oriented to heterogeneous population, and can incorporate interactions based on geography, demography, environment and migration patterns. The progression of diseases can be modeled at higher levels of fidelity using the GSFS model, and facilitates optimal deployment of public health resources for prevention, control and surveillance of infectious diseases.
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Modeling Place Vulnerability of HIV/AIDS in Texas

Modeling Place Vulnerability of HIV/AIDS in Texas

Date: August 2011
Creator: Harold, Adam F.
Description: This study provides a measurable model of the concept of place vulnerability for HIV/AIDS that incorporates both community and structural level effects using data provided at the ZIP code level from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Sociological literature on the effects of place on health has been growing but falls short of providing an operational definition of the effects of place on health. This dissertation looks to the literature in medical/health geography to supplement sociology’s understanding of the effects of place on health, to the end of providing a measurable model. Prior research that has recognized the complexity of the effects of place still have forced data into one scale and emphasized individual-level outcomes. A multilevel model allows for keeping the associated spatial unit data, without aggregating or parsing it out for convenience of model fit. The place vulnerability model proposed examines how exposure, capacity and potentiality variables all influence an area’s HIV/AIDS count. To capture the effects of place vulnerability at multiple levels, this dissertation research uses a multilevel zero-inflated poisson (MLZIP) model to examine how factors measured at the ZIP code and county both affect HIV/AIDS counts per ZIP code as an outcome. Furthermore, empirical Bayes ...
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Computational Epidemiology - Analyzing Exposure Risk: A Deterministic, Agent-Based Approach

Computational Epidemiology - Analyzing Exposure Risk: A Deterministic, Agent-Based Approach

Date: August 2009
Creator: O'Neill II, Martin Joseph
Description: Many infectious diseases are spread through interactions between susceptible and infectious individuals. Keeping track of where each exposure to the disease took place, when it took place, and which individuals were involved in the exposure can give public health officials important information that they may use to formulate their interventions. Further, knowing which individuals in the population are at the highest risk of becoming infected with the disease may prove to be a useful tool for public health officials trying to curtail the spread of the disease. Epidemiological models are needed to allow epidemiologists to study the population dynamics of transmission of infectious agents and the potential impact of infectious disease control programs. While many agent-based computational epidemiological models exist in the literature, they focus on the spread of disease rather than exposure risk. These models are designed to simulate very large populations, representing individuals as agents, and using random experiments and probabilities in an attempt to more realistically guide the course of the modeled disease outbreak. The work presented in this thesis focuses on tracking exposure risk to chickenpox in an elementary school setting. This setting is chosen due to the high level of detailed information realistically available to ...
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Spatial Analysis of Hiv/aids Survival in Dallas and Harris Counties, Texas

Spatial Analysis of Hiv/aids Survival in Dallas and Harris Counties, Texas

Date: May 2012
Creator: Heald, Stephanie
Description: More Texans are living with HIV infection than ever before. in fact, there has been a 6% increase annually, since 2002. This trend is not a result of increased HIV/AIDS incidence, but rather improving life expectancy of those living with HIV. Due to significant advances in HIV/AIDS testing, prevention, and treatment, individuals with HIV are living longer than ever before. However, throughout the state, the life expectancy of a person infected with HIV/AIDS varies spatially. This study investigates and attempts to explain the spatial distribution of HIV/AIDS survival rates by examining neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics. the results suggest that, contrary to expectation, the lowest survival rates occur, not in extreme poverty areas, but rather in moderate SES areas. Too rich to qualify for free treatments, but not rich enough to afford purchasing such treatments, the middle income living with HIV infection are caught between the cracks. the results provide important input for targeting public health interventions to improve HIV/AIDS survival.
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A Comparative Analysis of Diseases Associated with Mining and Non-Mining Communities: A Case Study of Obusai and Asankrangwa, Ghana

A Comparative Analysis of Diseases Associated with Mining and Non-Mining Communities: A Case Study of Obusai and Asankrangwa, Ghana

Date: August 2005
Creator: Reddy, Sumanth G.
Description: Disease prevalence varies with geographic location. This research pursues a medical geographic perspective and examines the spatial variations in disease patterns between Obuasi, a gold mining town and Asankrangwa, a non gold mining town in Ghana, West Africa. Political ecology/economy and the human ecology frameworks are used to explain the prevalence of diseases. Mining alters the environment and allows disease causing pathogens and vectors to survive more freely than in other similar environments. Certain diseases such as upper respiratory tract infections, ear infections, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS and syphilis, certain skin diseases and rheumatism and joint pains may have a higher prevalence in Obuasi when compared to Asankrangwa due to the mining in Obuasi.
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A Spatially Explicit Environmental Health Surveillance Framework for Tick-Borne Diseases

A Spatially Explicit Environmental Health Surveillance Framework for Tick-Borne Diseases

Date: August 2010
Creator: Aviña, Aldo
Description: In this paper, I will show how applying a spatially explicit context to an existing environmental health surveillance framework is vital for more complete surveillance of disease, and for disease prevention and intervention strategies. As a case study to test the viability of a spatial approach to this existing framework, the risk of human exposure to Lyme disease will be estimated. This spatially explicit framework divides the surveillance process into three components: hazard surveillance, exposure surveillance, and outcome surveillance. The components will be used both collectively and individually, to assess exposure risk to infected ticks. By utilizing all surveillance components, I will identify different areas of risk which would not have been identified otherwise. Hazard surveillance uses maximum entropy modeling and geographically weighted regression analysis to create spatial models that predict the geographic distribution of ticks in Texas. Exposure surveillance uses GIS methods to estimate the risk of human exposures to infected ticks, resulting in a map that predicts the likelihood of human-tick interactions across Texas, using LandScan 2008TM population data. Lastly, outcome surveillance uses kernel density estimation-based methods to describe and analyze the spatial patterns of tick-borne diseases, which results in a continuous map that reflects disease rates based ...
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Wind Energy-related Wildlife Impacts: Analysis and Potential Implications for Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species of Birds and Bats in Texas

Wind Energy-related Wildlife Impacts: Analysis and Potential Implications for Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species of Birds and Bats in Texas

Date: August 2010
Creator: Graham, Tara L.
Description: Texas currently maintains the highest installed nameplate capacity and does not require publicly available post-construction monitoring studies that examine the impacts of wind energy production on surrounding fauna. This thesis examines potential wind energy impacts on avian and bat species in Texas through a three-part objective. The first two objectives synthesize literature on variables attractive to species within wind development areas and estimate impacted ranges outside of Texas, based on studies examining wind energy's environmental impacts. The third objective focuses on Texas wind development potential for interaction with rare, threatened and endangered species of birds and bats using GIS analysis with a potential hazard index (PHI) model, which addresses broad-spectrum, high risk variables examined within the first two objectives. Assuming areas with higher wind speeds have potential for wind development, PHI values were calculated for 31 avian and ten bat species, based on an analysis of species range data obtained from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and wind data obtained from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Results indicate one avian species, Tympanuchus pallidicinctus, is at high risk for wind development interaction on an annual basis, with 20 species of birds and nine species of bats at higher risk during ...
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Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Areal and Volumetric Phytoplankton Productivity of Lake Texoma

Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Areal and Volumetric Phytoplankton Productivity of Lake Texoma

Date: August 2001
Creator: Baugher, Tessy
Description: Phytoplankton productivity of Lake Texoma was measured for one year from August 1999 to August 2000 for four stations, using the oxygen change method and laboratory incubation. Mean values of the photosynthetic parameters, PBmax and alphaB ranged from 4.86 to 46.39 mg O2.mg Chl-1.hr-1 for PBmax and 20.06 to 98.96 mg O2.mg Chl-1.E-1.m2 for alphaB. These values were in the range to be expected for a highly turbid, temperate reservoir. Estimated gross annual areal productivity ranged from 594 g C.m2.yr-1 (P.Q. = 1.2), at a station in the Washita River Zone to 753 g C.m2.yr-1 at a station in the Red River Zone, of the reservoir. Gross annual areal productivity at Station 17, in the Main Lake Zone, was 708 g C.m2.yr-1. Gross areal and volumetric productivity showed distinct seasonal variation with Photosynthetically Available Radiation (PAR) and temperature. Trophic status estimated on a station-by-station basis, using net productivity values derived from gross productivity and respiration estimates, was mesotrophic for all the stations, though one station approached eutrophy. Net productivity values ranged from 0.74 to 0.91 g C. m-2.d-1. An algal bioassay conducted at two stations in August 2000, revealed that phosphorus was most likely the nutrient limiting photosynthesis at both ...
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Estimating Buruli Ulcer Prevalence in Southwestern Ghana

Estimating Buruli Ulcer Prevalence in Southwestern Ghana

Date: August 2007
Creator: Denton, Curtis James
Description: Mycobacterium ulcerans is sweeping across sub-Saharan Africa, but little is known about the mode of transmission and its natural reservoirs. Since the only effective treatment is excision of the infection and surrounding tissue, early diagnosis and treatment is the only way to reduce the havoc associated with Buruli ulcer. Using data from a national case search survey conducted in Ghana during 2000 and suspected risk factors this study tests the hypothesized factors and probes the challenges of developing a spatial epidemiological regression model to explain Buruli ulcer prevalence in the southwestern region of Ghana representing 42 districts. Results suggest that prevalence is directly related to the degree of land cover classified as soil, elevation differential, and percent rural population of the area.
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Geography of HIV Infection Among Adults Aged 50 Years and Older in Texas From 1999-2009

Geography of HIV Infection Among Adults Aged 50 Years and Older in Texas From 1999-2009

Date: August 2012
Creator: Hedrich, Mara Nicole
Description: Twenty four percent of all HIV infections in the United States occur among adults aged 50 and older (mature adults), yet little is understood of the dynamics of HIV infection among this group in Texas. Data from 1999 to 2009 examined the relationship between HIV spatial and temporal patterns affecting socio-economic and demographic variables including poverty, gender, race/ethnicity and mode of exposure. Results revealed highest HIV infection rates among White homosexual men, Black males engaged in IV-drug use, Black female heterosexuals and minorities in poverty. Concentrations of HIV infection among mature adults were located primarily in urban centers of Houston and Dallas and indicated increasing HIV infection rates from 1999 to 2009. These results will assist future allocation of resources by zip code in urban areas for this understudied population.
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Bayesian Probabilistic Reasoning Applied to Mathematical Epidemiology for Predictive Spatiotemporal Analysis of Infectious Diseases

Bayesian Probabilistic Reasoning Applied to Mathematical Epidemiology for Predictive Spatiotemporal Analysis of Infectious Diseases

Date: May 2006
Creator: Abbas, Kaja Moinudeen
Description: Abstract Probabilistic reasoning under uncertainty suits well to analysis of disease dynamics. The stochastic nature of disease progression is modeled by applying the principles of Bayesian learning. Bayesian learning predicts the disease progression, including prevalence and incidence, for a geographic region and demographic composition. Public health resources, prioritized by the order of risk levels of the population, will efficiently minimize the disease spread and curtail the epidemic at the earliest. A Bayesian network representing the outbreak of influenza and pneumonia in a geographic region is ported to a newer region with different demographic composition. Upon analysis for the newer region, the corresponding prevalence of influenza and pneumonia among the different demographic subgroups is inferred for the newer region. Bayesian reasoning coupled with disease timeline is used to reverse engineer an influenza outbreak for a given geographic and demographic setting. The temporal flow of the epidemic among the different sections of the population is analyzed to identify the corresponding risk levels. In comparison to spread vaccination, prioritizing the limited vaccination resources to the higher risk groups results in relatively lower influenza prevalence. HIV incidence in Texas from 1989-2002 is analyzed using demographic based epidemic curves. Dynamic Bayesian networks are integrated with ...
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Modeling the Impact and Intervention of a Sexually Transmitted Disease: Human Papilloma Virus

Modeling the Impact and Intervention of a Sexually Transmitted Disease: Human Papilloma Virus

Date: May 2006
Creator: Corley, Courtney D.
Description: Many human papilloma virus (HPV) types are sexually transmitted and HPV DNA types 16, 18, 31, and 45 account for more than 75% if all cervical dysplasia. Candidate vaccines are successfully completing US Federal Drug Agency (FDA) phase III testing and several drug companies are in licensing arbitration. Once this vaccine become available it is unlikely that 100% vaccination coverage will be probable; hence, the need for vaccination strategies that will have the greatest reduction on the endemic prevalence of HPV. This thesis introduces two discrete-time models for evaluating the effect of demographic-biased vaccination strategies: one model incorporates temporal demographics (i.e., age) in population compartments; the other non-temporal demographics (i.e., race, ethnicity). Also presented is an intuitive Web-based interface that was developed to allow the user to evaluate the effects on prevalence of a demographic-biased intervention by tailoring the model parameters to specific demographics and geographical region.
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Spatial Analysis of Teen Births in North Central Texas

Spatial Analysis of Teen Births in North Central Texas

Date: December 2001
Creator: Donkor, Faustina Fosua
Description: The United States has the highest teen birth rate among western industrialized countries and the highest levels of pregnancy among adolescents (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1994). While the rate of teen births is high throughout the country, considerable variations exist between and within regions. Texas is one of the 5 leading states with the highest teen birth rates to mothers less than 18 years of age. This research provides a detailed analysis of births to mothers aged between 10 and 19 years in North Central Texas counties. Due to the modifiable area unit problem and to provide a finer geographical scale of analysis, teen births in Dallas County zip codes were examined as a special case study. Statistical and Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis reveal that race/ethnicity, education and income are significant factors in teen births in the region. Single parent households and receipt of public assistance were not statistically significant. Suggestions for reducing vulnerability to teen births are presented.
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AIDS and Aging: Are the Eldery Becoming the New At-Risk Population?

AIDS and Aging: Are the Eldery Becoming the New At-Risk Population?

Date: August 1994
Creator: Allen, Annette Marie
Description: This dissertation breaks new ground. It examines the perceptions of older adults towards AIDS prevention. Using the National Health Interview Survey, 1988: AIDS Knowledge and Attitudes Supplement, a modified Health Belief Model is developed. Despite the low number of older adults 55+ with AIDS, some extenuating circumstances increase their risk of AIDS contraction. Older adults have lower levels of knowledge about AIDS, weaker immune systems and receive more blood transfusions. Societal influences include educational neglect at the hands of physicians, healthcare workers and social service personnel. The first stage of the dissertation involved establishing older adults as an at-risk population through an extensive literature review. Next, the data was described utilizing frequencies, correlations and factor analysis. Frequencies clearly indicated that older adults in the data set had low levels of AIDS knowledge and did not view themselves at risk for AIDS contraction. Correlations between the variables were minimal. A modified Health Belief Model was developed and tested. Multiple regression determined that minimal variation in the two dependent variables, "Perceived Effectiveness of Effective Methods to Prevent AIDS Contraction" and "Perceived Effectiveness of Ineffective Methods to Prevent AIDS Contraction" was accounted for by the independent variables. Although F ratios allowed rejection of ...
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Bureaucracy and the Mexican American Elderly: Utilization of Formal and Informal Social Services

Bureaucracy and the Mexican American Elderly: Utilization of Formal and Informal Social Services

Date: December 1995
Creator: Dietz, Tracy L. (Tracy Lynn)
Description: Using the National Survey of Hispanic Elderly People, 1988, this study examines the support system of the Mexican American elderly and their utilization of formal social services. Two major research questions were addressed: 1) How does the Mexican American family provide assistance to their elderly family members? and 2) How does the bureaucratic structure affect the Mexican American elderly's access and utilization of formal social services?
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