, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 347-358
Date: 28 Apr 2006

Time spent in the united states and breast cancer screening behaviors among ethnically diverse immigrant women: Evidence for acculturation?

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The current study was designed to investigate the relations between time spent in the United States and breast cancer screening in a large sample (N=915) of ethnically diverse immigrant women living in New York City. Previous research among Hispanic women has suggested that acculturation positively influences health beliefs and preventive health behaviors. However, research has not yet extended to other growing immigrant groups, including women from Haiti and the English-speaking Caribbean, and has not tested whether time spent in the United States differentially impacts breast screening across groups that are known to vary in their health beliefs. As expected, time spent in the United States was associated with a greater number of mammograms and clinical breast exams. Importantly, these relations held even when controlling for (a) age, income, education, marital status; (b) morbidity, health insurance, physician's recommendation, physical exams; and (c) ethnicity. Moreover, time spent in the United States interacted with being Haitian to predict the number of clinical breast exams. Even though Haitians were less likely to utilize breast cancer screening overall, time spent in the United States had a stronger effect on the number of clinical breast exams for Haitian women. Results are discussed in terms of the ethnic-specificity of health beliefs, how they may change over time and their implications for preventive health behaviors.