The Use of Qualitative Methods to Guide the Development of the Border Resilience Scale in a Participatory Research Study

Maia Ingram, Karina R. Dueñas, Idolina Castro, Luis Vázquez, Rebecca M. Crocker, Emily K. Larson, Jill G De Zapien, Emma Torres, Scott C. Carvajal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


U.S.-Mexico border residents experience pervasive social and ecological stressors that contribute to a high burden of chronic disease. However, the border region is primarily composed of high-density Mexican-origin neighborhoods, a characteristic that is most commonly health-promoting. Understanding factors that contribute to border stress and resilience is essential to informing the effective design of community-level health promotion strategies. La Vida en La Frontera is a mixed-methods, participatory study designed to understand factors that may contribute to border resilience in San Luis, Arizona. The study’s initial qualitative phase included interviews with 30 Mexican-origin adults exploring community perceptions of the border environment, cross-border ties, and health-related concepts. Border residents described the border as a Mexican enclave characterized by individuals with a common language and shared cultural values and perspectives. Positive characteristics related to living in proximity to Mexico included close extended family relationships, access to Mexican food and products, and access to more affordable health care and other services. Based on these findings, we co-designed the 9-item Border Resilience Scale that measures agreement with the psychosocial benefits of these border attributes. Pilot data with 60 residents suggest there are positive sociocultural attributes associated with living in border communities. Further research should test if they mitigate environmental stressors and contribute to a health-promoting environment for residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5703
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Mexican-origin populations
  • U.S.-Mexico Border
  • community resilience
  • emotional health
  • health outcomes
  • participatory research
  • qualitative methods
  • scale development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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