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Discovery Newsletter

Volume 11Issue 5Spring 2000

Main Page On the Web Patents Corner Featured Stories


Student Scholars Present Their Studies on Hutterite Health and
Other Topics


by MSU News Service

Nurses who want to provide quality care to Montana's Hutterites should know and respect the health beliefs and practices of the state's second largest minority, according to four Montana State University-Bozeman nursing students who researched Hutterite health practices last semester.

Divorce Hutterites, for example, see a strong correlation between prayer and physical health. They also have great respect for doctors and nurses and use conventional medicine, but they are open to alternative medicines. They use reflexology and massage, as well as herbal remedies like celery tea for colds or stinging nettle tea for "girl disorders."

Darrin Peplinski, Nancy Fields-Estill, Rachel Tanglen and Tracy Anderson conducted the Hutterite study during their last semester of nursing school on the Billings campus. To find out the Hutterite's beliefs and practices about health, the students sent surveys to 30 of the state's 43 Hutterite colonies. Eighteen out of 150 surveys were returned, so the students conducted personal interviews, too.

Their research gave them ideas for how nurses can better care for their Hutterite patients, the students said. Nurses should pay strong attention to the spiritual needs of their patients, for example. They should encourage visits from other colony members, especially spiritual leaders and families. Nurses should be willing to read the Bible to patients who may be unable to read for themselves.

The students presented their findings recently during the Ninth Undergraduate Scholars Conference at MSU-Bozeman. Eighty-nine students representing every college on campus made presentations on topics ranging from music therapy among the terminally ill to snake venom and swimming pool slime.

In one project, Maria Spinelli talked about the impact of divorce on vacation behavior. Building on five years of research by associate professor of business David Snepenger, Spinelli found that baby boomers are the most avid travelers, and they often take their children with them. About 54 percent of all family trips involve children.

Divorce, however, has drastically affected vacations. In a survey of MSU students whose parents had divorced, Spinelli found that discretionary income increased during the divorce, but fell after the divorce. After the divorce, families were more likely to take vacations during the summer instead of throughout the year.

Because of the impact of divorce on vacations, Spinelli said, "Marketers may need to consider the divorce market to become more competitive."

Seniors Heather Haberman and Jerry Gossel looked at how Americans meet and fall in love over the Internet. A search for dating and romance sites on America Online yielded more than 7,500 hits, many with additional links, "so you could keep going on until your fingers fell off," Gossel said. Most of the sites had public and private chat rooms and bulletin boards.

In comparing personal ads on the Internet with their print counterparts, Gossel found that the Internet ads are more descriptive and that the men were more graphic in their physical descriptions and needs. The anonymity of the Internet may explain the greater specificity, because it's easier to back out of the "relationship" if it only exists in cyberspace, Haberman theorized.

The students also discovered that it wasn't uncommon for people to meet over the Internet and marry within 30 days. How long these relationships last would be a good topic for subsequent studies, they agreed.

While researching the history of Irish step dancing, general studies student Pearl Harris learned that during the 1800s the dance, referred to as "kicking up the sod," moved from the farm fields into Irish taverns. Children were put upstairs in the pubs to alert Catholic worshippers downstairs with their percussive footwork if British officials were approaching.

One theory for why the dancers keep their arms at their sides and their upper bodies stiff is so they can dance in a pub without knocking over someone's drink, Harris said.

With a history stretching back to the 1500s, the dance is now on the world stage. Germany alone has nine companies, Harris found.

"Competition among peasants used to be the reason for doing the dance," Harris said. "Now the dancers are communicating a tradition."

Francesca Messina, an exchange student from Italy, researched the U.S. cosmetic industry and presented her findings at the USP conference. Focusing just on makeup, she said 82 percent of the American women buy makeup. Seventy percent use face makeup, 78 percent use lipstick, 64 percent use eye products and 59 percent use nail products. Most of them buy their makeup from mass markets like discount stores and super markets.

After reviewing the leading cosmetic companies, Messina pointed out some trends. Teenagers and baby boomers, for example, are increasing in numbers. To reach teenagers who have more than $100 billion in disposable income and buy beauty products on an average of every two weeks, Messina suggested that drugstores and discount chains increase the space they use for teenage makeup supplies. Teenagers like to experiment, so they need larger selections. They also want more information about how to use the products.

To reach baby boomers, Messina suggested that companies offer skin care lines in addition to makeup. The products should also respond to baby boomers' concerns about environmental issues.

Two other growing groups that marketers could target are African Americans and Hispanics, Messina said. Another trend in the cosmetic industry is buying products over the Internet.

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