Online Program

Fatalism and cancer knowledge among a sample of highly-acculturated Latinas: Implications for communication strategies

Monday, November 4, 2013

A. Susana Ramirez, PhD, MPH, Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, North Bethesda, MD
Background: Fatalistic attitudes about cancer are associated with decreased likelihood of knowing about cancer risk factors and engaging in prevention and screening . Research with less-acculturated, high-poverty immigrant samples, suggests Latinas are especially likely hold fatalistic beliefs. This study examined knowledge about cancer and the extent to which fatalistic beliefs are held by a national sample of highly-acculturated Latinas. Data: Latinas (N=715) recruited through national online panel maintained by SurveySamplingInternational (SSI). Results: Sample was diverse in age (mean=38.5 years,SD=5.6), education (33% had high school or less; 42.9% had some college), income (58% household incomes $25,000-$74,999), country of origin (Mexico: 43%), and generational status (1st: 28%;2nd: 37%). Three-quarters of respondents (79%) agreed/strongly agreed with the statement, “There's not much you can do to reduce your chances of getting cancer.” One-third agreed/strongly agreed with three other fatalistic beliefs about cancer causes. Knowledge of common cancer risk factors varied: Fewer than half (46%) knew physical activity recommendations; two-thirds (66%) knew that HPV causes cervical cancer; and just over two-thirds (71%) knew eating 5-10 fruits and vegetables daily was recommended for health. Conclusion: Fatalism is present among highly-acculturated Latinas, and knowledge about cancer risk factors is lacking. Fatalistic beliefs are paradoxically associated with cancer knowledge. Opportunities for tailored communications to improve health behaviors and research to understand causes/effects of these findings discussed in context of a growing body of research about how to communicate health information to more-acculturated Latinos who are not reached by traditional Spanish outreach, yet may not identify with general-market messages.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the extent to which more-acculturated Latinas hold fatalistic beliefs about cancer. Describe what more-acculturated Latinas know about cancer. Describe the association between cancer knowledge and perceptions of cancer controllability and causes. Describe how the findings about fatalism and knowledge influence communication campaign planning to reach U.S. Latinos.

Keyword(s): Cancer, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceptualized, designed, obtained funding for, conducted the survey, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper for this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.