Exploring precarious employment and women's health within the context of U.S. microenterprise using focus groups

Rebekah Salt, Jongwon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Nursing has been a leader in exploring social determinants of health within the context of U.S. microenterprise and women's health. The purpose of this study was to explore precarious employment within the context of microenterprise and women's health using focus groups with clientele from New Mexico (NM). The specific aims were to identify (1) the health concerns of low-income women who utilized resources from Women's Economic Self-Sufficiency Team (WESST), and (2) the meaning of precarious employment in low-income women's lives. Design and strategy: Fourteen women, ranging in age from 21-65 years, who were affiliated with regional WESST sites around NM participated in focus groups and completed a demographic questionnaire. Measures: Focus group data were analyzed using content analysis. The degree of interrater agreement was determined by calculating the Cohen's kappa, percentage agreement, and prevalence-adjusted and bias-adjusted kappa (PABAK). Results: Two broad themes emerged from these data: (1) Working for Yourself and (2) Strategies. Although the women identified concerns about participation in microenterprise, flexibility, freedom, and feeling purposeful were motivators to pursue a small business. The kappa statistics on the five transcripts revealed poor inter-rater agreement, yet PABAK, which is a more sophisticated inter-rater reliability index, indicated that inter-rater agreement between the two raters was satisfactory. Conclusion: Despite the challenges associated with microenterprise in the US, women found value in working for themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-565
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Focus groups
  • Microenterprise
  • Qualitative research
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • General Nursing


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