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Ethnic Influences on Body Awareness, Trait Anxiety, Perceived Risk, and Breast and Gynecologic Cancer Screening Practices

Martha J. Foxall
Cecilia R. Barron
ONF 2001, 727-738 DOI:

Purpose/Objectives: To examine ethnic influences on body awareness, trait anxiety, perceived risk, and breast and gynecologic cancer screening practices.

Design: Descriptive, correlational secondary analysis.

Setting: Urban and rural home and community populations.

Sample: 233 women: 138 (59%) Caucasian, 37 (17%) African American, 29 (12%) Hispanic, and 29 (12%) American Indian women (mean = 46.86 years) were recruited through mailings, churches, and community organizations.

Methods: Structured questionnaires.

Main Research Variables: Body awareness, trait anxiety, perceived risk, and breast and gynecologic cancer screening practices.

Findings: Ethnicity predicted breast and gynecologic cancer screening practices (except clinical breast examination), body awareness, trait anxiety, and perceived risk. Hispanic and American Indian women reported greater breast self-examination frequency than Caucasian and African American women. Caucasian and African American women reported more mammogram use than Hispanic and American Indian women. Increased body awareness was related to fewer gynecologic exams for American Indian women.

Conclusions: Women of different ethnic backgrounds respond differently to breast and gynecologic cancer screening practices. The influence of psychosocial variables on these practices varied with different groups.

Implications for Nursing Practice: Nursing interventions to increase breast and gynecologic cancer screening should be ethnic-specific, with particular attention to the meaning of body awareness to American Indian women and trait anxiety and perceived risk to African American women.

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