Impact of personal characteristics on African American women’s beliefs and attitudes about breast cancer
PURPOSE:This study measured the effect of demographic and clinical characteristics on health and cultural beliefs related to mammography. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Interviews were conducted during 2003 and 2004 in a Midwestern urban area. SUBJECTS: Subjects were 344 low-income African-American women 40 years and older who had not had mammography within the previous 18 months. MEASURES: The instrument measured personal characteristics, belief and knowledge scales, and participants' mammography experience and plans. ANALYSIS: Multiple regression analysis assessed the effect of specific demographic and clinical characteristics on each of the scale values and on subjects' stages of readiness to change. RESULTS: The subjects' levels of education significantly affected six of the 12 belief and knowledge scales. Higher-educated women felt less susceptible to breast cancer, had higher self-efficacy, had less fear, had lower fatalism scores, were less likely to be present-time oriented, and were more knowledgeable about breast cancer. Older women felt they were less susceptible to breast cancer, had higher fatalism scores, were more present-time oriented, and were less knowledgeable about breast cancer. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that mammography promotion programs for African-Americans should consider the education levels and ages of the target women to be most effective.