Jean A. Dyer

Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Therese Shipps

Second Committee Member

Walter McIntire

Third Committee Member

Scott Anchors


In the role of community health educator, nurses poised to address the health promotion, disease and injury prevention needs of immigrant populations find it difficult to effectively implement teaching and learning strategies traditionally used with American adult learners. Nurses who assess for population-based learning style tendencies in immigrant cohorts promote the planning and implementation of effective health promotion and disease prevention community-based programs. Concurrent methodological triangulation was used to explore the construct of field dependencelindependence in immigrant adult learners. This two-step study employed the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT), developed by Witkin, (1971), to determine field dependencylindependency in 77 subjects from various culturally diverse populations. The convenience sample consisted of 16 (n=16) subjects, six each from Russian, Sudanese, and Dominican adult learners in the general sample. These subjects proved to be predominantly field dependent. Focused interviews also provided direct self-reported evidence that the students' perception of their learning process was consistent with the results of the GEFT. Outcomes of this study suggested that focused interview techniques reflected field dependencylindependency as accurately as a formal assessment tool, such as the GEFT. Results of this study also support the premise that the assessment of cohortbased learning style tendencies through a non-threatening interview would be more cost effective and time efficient than a traditional test-taking strategy. Information gleaned from these interviews regarding field dependencylindependency could be used to enhance community-based health promotion education.