Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Public Health


Elizabeth L. Rosenthal



This manuscript describes an exploratory study which was undertaken in Segundo Barrio; a historic neighborhood in El Paso, Texas. The purpose of the study was to identify formal and informal sources of social support through the perceptions of female residents in different stages of life. This community, while economically disadvantaged, has unique characteristics and resources and the researcher was interested in seeing how different age groups perceive them.

Guiding Research Questions:

What sources of social support do residents of Segundo Barrio identify as key sources of support within their neighborhood, Greater El Paso, and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua?

* Social support was defined using Berkman and Glass' four categories: instrumental, informational, appraisal and emotional.

What were the criteria of selection for participants' sources of social support?

Data was gathered on formal and informal sources of support (which exist in the built environment) across the four categories of social support using community mapping and consensus methods. At the end of the session, a brief survey was also used to gather participants' perceptions of the usefulness of the methods used in this study.

Results: Across all three age groups (Younger- 18-25, Midlife- 26-44, and Older- 44-70+), participants identified that they utilized informal sources of social support most frequently. The cross-cutting themes identified as key factors in selecting sources of formal and informal social support by participants were: quality of service, friendliness, common language and ethnicity of provider, affordability, and access to resources. Mapping data illustrated that the youngest group utilized social support services in Juarez more often than the other groups, and that all groups relied on support within Segundo Barrio the most. Survey data showed that participants did perceive the methods used to be useful.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

110 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Julie Anne Krill