Differences in health and cultural beliefs by stage of mammography screening adoption in African American women


  • Presented at Exploring Models to Eliminate Cancer Disparities Among African American and Latino Populations: Research and Community Solutions, Atlanta, Georgia, April 21–22, 2005.


Behavioral studies show that women's stage of readiness to adopt mammography screening affects their screening rates and that beliefs about breast cancer and screening affect stages of screening. The purposes of this study were to determine, first, the relationship between particular health and cultural beliefs and stage of mammography screening adoption in urban African American women, and second, whether demographic and experiential characteristics differed by stage. Data were analyzed from 344 low-income African American women nonadherent to mammography screening who participated in a 21-month trial to increase screening. At baseline, these women were randomized into 1 of 3 groups: tailored interactive computer instruction, targeted video, or usual care. Participants were categorized by stage of mammography screening adoption at 6 months as precontemplators (not planning to have a mammogram), contemplators (planning to have a mammogram), or actors (had received a mammogram). Although demographic and experiential variables did not differentiate stages of screening adoption at 6 months postintervention, some health and cultural beliefs were significantly different among groups. Actors were more preventive-health–oriented than precontemplators and had fewer barriers to screening than did contemplators. Precontemplators had more barriers, less self-efficacy, and greater discomfort with the mammography screening environment than did contemplators or actors. These results will be useful, not to change cultural beliefs, but to guide the design of health education messages appropriate to an individual's culture and health belief system. Cancer 2007. © 2006 American Cancer Society.