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Racial differences among women coping with abnormal Pap test results

Jill M. Abbott, MPH, DrPH, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ohio State University, A350B Starling-Loving Hall, 320 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, 614-293-8174, abbott.34@osu.edu, Kathryn J. Luchok, PhD, Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, 800 Sumter Street HESC 216, Columbia, SC 29208, Sara J. Corwin, MPH, PhD, Office of Public Health Practice, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, 800 Sumter Street, Columbia, SC 29208, Ann L. Coker, PhD, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 1200 Herman Pressler, PO Box 20186, Houston, TX 77225, and Irene Prabhu Das, MPH, Division of Cancer Prevention & Control, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, PO Box 101106, Columbia, SC 29211.

BACKGROUND: Despite advances in medical technology and improvements in the delivery of preventive health care services, racial and ethnic minority women continue to be disproportionately affected by cervical cancer incidence and mortality. How women cope with an abnormal Pap test can play a role in their decision to receive follow-up care, and a better understanding of the racial differences in the coping process may elucidate reasons for poorer cervical health among minority women. METHODS: Seventeen clients in the South Carolina Breast and Cervical Early Detection Program who had an abnormal Pap test in the four years prior to the study completed in-depth, in-person interviews to explore the process of coping with abnormal Pap test results and racial differences in that process. Tape-recorded interviews were transcribed and analyzed with NVivo®, and recurrent themes were examined across all interviews. RESULTS: Approximately equal numbers of African American and Caucasian women participated, and their mean age was 59.9 years. African American and Caucasian women differed in their ability to cope with abnormal Pap test results with respect to perceived susceptibility to cancer, emotional response to learning the result, primary coping strategies used, and social support received. CONCLUSION: Exploration of coping differences among women of different races reveals implications for modifying existing cervical cancer screening programs or developing new programs to enhance minority women’s coping responses following an abnormal Pap test. In turn, this will promote the continuation of long-term screening practices and ultimately reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality among minority women.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, the participant will be able to

Keywords: Coping, Cancer Screening

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Women and Cancer Poster Session

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA