Asian/Pacific Island Nursing Journal


Chuukese, health disparities, marginalization, migrant women, health seeking

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Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Nursing | Public Health | Public Health and Community Nursing | Public Health Education and Promotion | Women's Health


This descriptive qualitative study examined perceived barriers to health care among Chuukese migrant women in Guam and explored which factors influenced health-seeking behaviors. Study participants recommended interventions which may reduce those perceived barriers. Since the Compact of Free Association with the United States was enacted in 1985, there has been a dramatic rise in the numbers of Chuukese migrating to Guam. This migration is anticipated to continue with more migrants needing health care, education, and social services. Little is known about their perceptions of barriers to health care services or the cultural, social, economic, and other factors that influence their health-seeking behaviors.

Focus group interviews provided rich data, which were analyzed using content analysis. Themes included barriers to seeking and maintaining health and social and cultural factors influencing health-seeking behaviors. Major barriers identified were financial issues, difficulty in obtaining care due to long wait times, transportation problems, and struggles with both language and cultural nuances of communication. It was found that the women identified a mistrust of health and social services resulting from communication barriers. Social and cultural factors included the use of traditional Chuukese medicines, lack of preventive care services, confidentiality concerns, and feelings of mistreatment. Participants made recommendations for improved care and expressed a strong desire to achieve the mutual goal of better health care for Chuukese migrants in Guam.