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Developing a Model for Quality of Life: Identifying Domains and Determinants for Rural Ethnic Minorities

Research Team

Name Name

Principal Investigator: Maria de Guzman

Co-Principal Investigators: Yan Ruth Xia, Soo-Young Hong, Evan Choi, Rodrigo Cantarero

Funding Information

Funding Agency: Rural Futures Institute

Award Date: Jul 1, 2015

End Date: Dec 31, 2018


Although many towns and small cities in the rural Midwest have experienced a large influx and growth of immigrant and ethnic minority populations over the last several years, there continues to be a dearth of information on the factors that specifically affect their well-being. This project is designed to: a) examine the factors that are relevant in determining “quality of life” (QOL) among ethnic minority populations in rural communities; and b) to develop educational tools that will help community responders in integrating findings into their work to better respond to the needs of rural minorities. 

Research suggests that QOL (i.e., our perceptions of, and satisfaction with, life and the degree to which we feel our goals and standards are being met) and other measures of subjective well-being contribute to individuals’ physical health and longevity and other “objective” measures of health and well-being. QOL has also been linked to income productivity, workforce retention, and individuals’ intentions to remain in a community. 

Given the mounting evidence for the importance of QOL, scholars in various fields as well as numerous prominent organizations (e.g., World Health Organization, International Society for Quality of Life Research) have begun to pay particular attention to this construct and its determinants. However, generally lacking in QOL research is its role in the lives of rural ethnic minorities, and identifying what constitutes QOL in these populations (most research has concentrated on large cities and the southwestern United States).

For the research phase, the team is conducting a mixed methods study to build a general rural minority QOL model and then test this model with rural Latino populations in Scottsbluff, Madison, and Columbus, Nebraska. Information gleaned from the research phase will then be broadly disseminated and integrated within the work of Nebraska Extension and other partnering organizations. 

Ultimately, the goal of this endeavor is to understand and improve the well-being of minorities in rural Nebraska; consequently increasing the likelihood of their retention and their active contribution to the economic, social, health, and overall vitality of rural communities. Funding for this study is provided by a Rural Futures Institute Research and Engagement Grant.

Rural Education & Communities, Psychosocial Development & Social-Emotional Learning, Research & Evaluation Methods

The research team includes, from left, Evan Choi, Rodrigo Cantarero, Maria de Guzman, Soo-Young Hong and Irene Padasas.
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