Screening Behaviors Among African American Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer: Do Beliefs About God Matter?

Anita Yeomans Kinney

Gwyn Emery

William N. Dudley

Robert T. Croyle

ONF 2002, 29(5), 835-843. DOI: 10.1188/02.ONF.835-843

Purpose/Objectives: To examine the relationship between beliefs about God as a controlling force in health and adherence to breast cancer screening among high-risk African American women.

Design: Cross-sectional cohort.

Setting: In-person interviews in rural, southeastern Louisiana and telephone interviews conducted at the University of Utah.

Sample: 52 females who were members of a large kindred with a BRCA1 mutation; no subjects had breast cancer.

Methods: Survey through in-person or telephone interviews.

Main Research Variables: Belief in God as a controlling agent over health measured by the God Locus of Health Control (GLHC) scale; screening behaviors measured by self-report. Adherence was based on consensus-approved recommendations for BRCA1 carriers or women at risk of being carriers.

Findings: Bivariate analysis indicated that presence of a primary care provider and low GLHC scores were associated with seeking clinical breast examination (CBE) and mammography. With the variable "presence of a primary care provider" excluded, GLHC scores were inversely associated with seeking CBE and mammography.

Conclusions: African American women at increased risk for breast cancer and with high GLHC scores may have a decreased inclination to adhere to CBE and mammography recommendations.

Implications for Nursing: Assessing religious and spiritual beliefs and incorporating belief systems into education and counseling sessions may improve understanding and acceptance of presented material.

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