Sink or swim: understanding Mexican American constraints and facilitators for swim lesson participation
The problem of the study was to investigate constraints and facilitators of Mexican American parents when deciding whether or not to enroll their children in formal swim lessons as a means of drowning prevention. The information obtained by this study (1) helps create awareness about youth drowning incidents and (2) provides insight about Mexican American perspectives and behaviors toward drowning prevention through, or not through as the case may be, youth formal swim lesson participation. This study's sample was purposively selected using typical case and snowball sampling techniques. Individual interviews were conducted with Mexican American parent participants and focus group interviews were conducted with aquatic personnel. From April to August, individual and focus group interviews were conducted in the border towns Sierra Vista, Bisbee, and Douglas in the state of Arizona. There were a total of 25 Mexican American parent participants: 10 had never enrolled their children in swim lessons and 15 had experience enrolling and observing their children in swim lessons. There were 3 focus groups interviews of aquatic personnel experts: Sierra Vista had 6, Bisbee had 7 and Douglas had 9 participants. The theory used to identify and classify the types of constraints and facilitators described in the findings of this study was the Leisure Constraints Theory proposed by Crawford, Jackson and Godbey, 1991. Finding from this study suggest that despite the uncommon perception, Mexican Americans youth are actually participating more in formal swim lessons than they have in past generations. Mexican American families in this sample reported major constraints for formal swim lessons as a reliance on learning form family and friends, swimming at private pools, money, time, and transportation as barriers to participation. Facilitators for Mexican American youth to participate in formal swim lessons are youth drowning awareness, education, lack of parental swimming ability, generational social norm behavior changes, financial assistance and an attitude shift in favor of formal swim lessons.