Breast Cancer Screening Among Dominican Latinas

A Closer Look at Fatalism and Other Social and Cultural Factors

Published in: Health Education and Behavior, v. 42, no. 5, Oct. 2015, p. 633-641

Posted on RAND.org on April 22, 2015

by Ana F. Abraído-Lanza, Mariana Cunha Martins, Rachel C. Shelton, Karen Rocío Flórez

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With the marked increase of the Latino population in the United States during the past 20 years, there has been growing interest in the social, cultural, and structural factors that may impede breast cancer screening among Latino women, especially among those subgroups that have been understudied. Acculturation and fatalism are central cultural constructs in these growing fields of research. However, there is great debate on the extent to which acculturation and fatalism affect breast cancer screening among Latinas relative to other social or structural factors or logistical barriers. Moreover, little theoretical work specifies or tests pathways between social, structural, and cultural determinants of screening. This study tests a theoretical model of social and structural (socioeconomic status and access to health care) and cultural factors (acculturation and fatalism) as correlates of mammography screening among Dominican Latinas, a group that has been understudied. The study expands prior work by examining other factors identified as potential impediments to mammography screening, specifically psychosocial (e.g., embarrassment, pain) and logistical (e.g., not knowing how to get a mammogram, cost) barriers. Interview-administered surveys were conducted with 318 Latinas from the Dominican Republic aged 40 years or older. Fatalistic beliefs were not associated with mammogram screening. Greater acculturation assessed as language use was associated with decreased screening. The strongest predictor of decreased screening was perceived barriers. Results highlight the importance of assessing various self-reported psychosocial and logistical barriers to screening. Possible avenues for screening interventions include intensifying public health campaigns and use of personalized messages to address barriers to screening. Results add to a limited body of research on Dominicans, who constitute the fifth largest Latino group in the United States.

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