Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Interdisciplinary Health Sciences


Mark W. Lusk



Exposure to pesticides is associated with adverse health outcomes including poisonings, short-term signs and symptoms, and long-term adverse health outcomes including developmental and cognitive impairments, certain types of cancer, and damages to the endocrine, nervous, and reproductive systems. This study tested two educational methods aimed to help Hispanic, Spanish-speaking mothers living in the U.S.-México border make informed decisions about pesticides applied in their homes. 230 women were randomly allocated to a) a small group talk, b) a graphic booklet, or c) a control group. The outcomes were the knowledge level about the risks of pesticides and the pest prevention and safety practices conducted by participants. Participants were 33.6 years of age and 8.4 school years on average. 48% participants decided to apply pesticides at the first sign of a problem, 8% hired professional applicators, and 40.3% applied pesticides during pregnancy and 54% during the first the first three years of age of their children. 36.2% participants used pesticides with a label on a language they don't understand. Of the 230 participants of the three groups, 144 reported no application of pesticides in the house between the first and second visits; the main reasons given by the participants were because it was not necessary (i.e. no pests) (68.7%), because they decided not to apply pesticides (26.4%), and for another reasons (4.9%). Both educational methods increased the knowledge scores of participants, with the small group talk resulting in significantly higher increase (p<.001). Similarly, the small group talk was slightly more effective in increasing the number of pest prevention practices (p=.93) and marginally more effective in the number of safety practices conducted by participants (p=.074). The knowledge score of participants was significantly correlated with their pest prevention (r=.154) and safety practices (r=.219) before any educational intervention.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

503 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Patricia M. Juarez-Carrillo