Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Family planning services--Iowa; Health education--Iowa--Citizen participation; Beauty operators--Iowa--Attitudes;


Beauty salons are unique and effective settings to provide community-based health education. Viewed as natural helpers by their community, stylists can serve as a bridge to deliver targeted health messages. The Speak UP! Salon Project (part of the Iowa Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies) trained hair stylists from nine intervention counties to deliver five key messages related to reducing unintended pregnancy to their clients in the 18-30 target age range. The project ran three years (2009-2011). Mid-way through the project, stylist focus groups were held to 1) determine strengths and weaknesses in the implementation process and 2) consider the stylists’ reflections on their role as lay health educators. Forty-seven of 93 stylists (50.5%) attended one of eleven focus groups. Thirty-two of 54 participating salons (59.3%) were represented. The focus groups followed a guidebook and included questions about their experiences with the Speak UP! Salon Project, the frequency and content of conversations they had with clients related to unintended pregnancy and birth control, their thoughts on project materials, their clients’ reactions to the project, and reflections on their role as lay health educators. Using Krueger’s qualitative methodology, a systematic analysis was completed on transcripts of the focus groups. Seven themes emerged: comfort and support, surprise, ease of message delivery, location mattered, engagement through campaign materials, unintended benefit to stylists, and expanded reach. Findings indicate that stylists received substantial positive feedback from clients about their involvement in this health education project and that stylists’ efforts reached individuals far beyond the target audience.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services


Division of Health Promotion and Education

First Advisor

Susan Roberts-Dobie, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 57 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download