Background Cervical cancer screening research has predominantly focused on one type of participation, namely compliance with medical recommendations, and has largely ignored other types of participation. While there is some research that has taken a different approach, findings in this research area are not well integrated under a theoretical framework.
Objective The aim of this study is to show how consideration of a broader definition of participation and better integration of the theoretical conceptualization of participation in cervical cancer screening are both possible and desirable to enable a better understanding of women’s experiences of cervical cancer screening specifically and to improve women’s health generally.
Main Conclusion It is suggested that alternative types of participation in cervical cancer screening warrant further investigation and that a social identity theoretical approach offers one way of integrating such conceptualizations of participation. The paper also argues for more explicit consideration of the role of social processes and of the variables, such as power, social identity and relational justice, which are involved in participation in cervical cancer screening.