“It’s up to you and God”: understanding health behavior change in older African American survivors of colorectal cancer
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- Harper, F.W., Nevedal, A., Eggly, S. et al. Behav. Med. Pract. Policy Res. (2013) 3: 94. doi:10.1007/s13142-012-0188-6
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This study investigated the beliefs and attitudes of older African American colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors that may influence health behavior changes after treatment. Drawing from existing theories of health behavior change and cultural beliefs about health, a semi-structured interview guide was developed to elicit survivors’ perspectives. Qualitative focus groups and interviews were conducted with 17 survivors identified through the Detroit Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results registry. Using verbatim transcripts from the sessions and NVivo software, thematic analysis was conducted to analyze patterns of responses. Transcripts were coded for seven categories (health behaviors, who/what motivates change, self-efficacy, fatalism, religion/spirituality, beliefs about cancer, race/ethnicity). Five themes emerged from the data (personal responsibility, resilience, desire for information, intentions to change, beliefs in divine control). Findings support the relevance of existing theories of health behavior change to older African American CRC survivors. Cultural considerations are suggested to improve interventions seeking to maximize changes in diet and exercise among this group of survivors.