The use of sociocultural constructs in cancer screening research among African Americans

Department of Community Health Division of Epidemiology, Saint Louis University School of Public Health, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Cancer control: journal of the Moffitt Cancer Center (Impact Factor: 3.5). 08/2009; 16(3):256-65.
Source: PubMed


Studies are increasingly examining the role of sociocultural values, beliefs, and attitudes in cancer prevention. However, these studies vary widely in how sociocultural constructs are defined and measured, how they are conceived as affecting cancer beliefs, behaviors, and screening, and how they are applied in interventions.
To characterize the current state of this research literature, we conducted a critical review of studies published between 1990 and 2006 to describe the current use of sociocultural constructs in cancer screening research among African Americans. We included quantitative and qualitative studies with cancer as a primary focus that included African American participants, assessed screening behaviors, reported race-specific analyses, and considered one or more sociocultural factors. Studies were evaluated for type of cancer and screening analyzed, study population, methodology, sociocultural constructs considered, definitions of constructs, provision of psychometric data for measures, and journal characteristics.
Of 94 studies identified for review, 35 met the inclusion criteria and were evaluated. Most focused on breast cancer screening, and thus African American women. Sociocultural constructs were seldom clearly defined, and the sources and psychometric properties of sociocultural measures were rarely reported.
A multidisciplinary approach to developing a common language and a standardized set of measures for sociocultural constructs will advance research in this area. Specific recommendations are made for future research.

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