Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 24-34

First online:

Social and cultural factors are related to perceived colorectal cancer screening benefits and intentions in African Americans

  • Jason Q. PurnellAffiliated withHealth Communication Research Laboratory, Washington University in St. Louis Email author 
  • , Mira L. KatzAffiliated withOhio State University
  • , Barbara L. AndersenAffiliated withOhio State University
  • , Oxana PaleshAffiliated withUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
  • , Colmar Figueroa-MoseleyAffiliated withUniversity of California, Davis
  • , Pascal Jean-PierreAffiliated withUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
  • , Nancy BennettAffiliated withUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry

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Models that explain preventive behaviors, such as colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, do not account for social and cultural factors relevant to African Americans. This exploratory study examined the relationship between socio-cultural factors (e.g., traditional acculturative strategy, group-based medical mistrust, physician ethnicity, and group-level perceptions of susceptibility) and perceived benefits, perceived barriers, and CRC screening intentions among African Americans (N = 198; Age: M = 59.7, SD = 9.9; 65% female; 44% household income $50,000+). Hierarchical multiple regression was used to test the following models with perceived benefits, perceived barriers, and screening intentions as the outcomes: (a) traditional acculturative strategy × medical mistrust; (b) physician’s ethnicity × medical mistrust; (c) group susceptibility × medical mistrust; and (d) group susceptibility × traditional acculturative strategy. Results revealed that perceiving high group susceptibility while being both more culturally traditional and less mistrustful was associated with more perception of screening benefits. Greater intention to be screened was associated with perceiving high group susceptibility while having a more traditional cultural orientation and low levels of mistrust in those with African American physicians. These results suggest that it may be beneficial to include these social and cultural factors in behavioral interventions to increase CRC screening among African Americans.


Colorectal cancer Screening African American Culture