Journal of Gender, Culture and Health

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 85–100 | Cite as

Fatalism Reconceptualized: A Concept to Predict Health Screening Behavior

  • Paulin Tay Straughan
  • Adeline Seow
Article

Abstract

Social norms governing health seeking behavior affect perceived self-efficacy which in turn determines if self-directed change is sustained. Using this argument, we contextualized the link between social background and preventive health behavior. We argued that fatalism influenced self-efficacy, which in turn affected acceptability of four screen tests: mammography, clinical breast examination, breast self-examination, and the Pap Smear Test. A seven-item index was developed to measure fatalism. From data obtained through a community survey of women between 50 to 65 years, the index was validated. Logistic regression was conducted to verify the empirical link between fatalism and the four screen tests. A multivariate model that explained variation in fatalism was derived and the results showed that emotional support from family and friends, informational support from personal physicians, as well as social background factors (education, ethnicity, income, and age) were significantly correlated to fatalism. By improving our understanding of the social obstacles that deter women from adopting regular screening, more effective intervention can be employed to improve acceptability of these screen tests.

fatalism social support mammography Pap smear breast cancer screening 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Backett, K. (1992). The construction of health knowledge in middle class families. Health Education Research: Theory and Practice, 7, 497–507.Google Scholar
  2. Bandura, A. (1994). Social Cognitive Theory and exercise of control over HIV infection. In R. J. DiClemente & J. L. Peterson (Eds.), Preventing AIDS: Theories and methods of behavioral interventions (pp. 25–59). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  3. Berkman, L. F. (1985). The relationship of social networks and social support to morbidity and mortality. In S. Cohen & S. L. Syme (Eds.), Social support and health (pp. 241–262). Orlando: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Berkman L. F., & Syme S. L. (1979) Social networks, hosts resistance, and mortality: A nine-year follow-up study of Alameda County residents. American Journal of Epidemiology, 109, 186–204.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, P. (1995). Naming and framing: The social construction of diagnosis and illness. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Extra Issue, 34–52.Google Scholar
  6. Calnan, M. (1985). Women's beliefs and feelings about breast cancer and its control. Health Education Journal, 44, 74–75.Google Scholar
  7. Canadian Task Force. (1976). Cervical cancer screening programs: the Walton report. (Report of the Task Force Appointed by the Conference of Deputy Ministers of Health). Canadian Medical Association Journal, 114, 1003–1033.Google Scholar
  8. Chia, K. S., Lee H. P., Seow, A., & Shanmugaratnam, K. (1995). Trends in cancer incidence in Singapore 1968–1992. Singapore: Singapore Cancer Registry.Google Scholar
  9. Davison, C., Frankel, S., & Smith, G. D. (1992). The limits of lifestyle: re-assessing “fatalism” in the popular culture of illness prevention. Social Science and Medicine, 34, 675–685.Google Scholar
  10. Duke, S. S., Gordon-Sosby, K., Reynolds, K. D., & Gram, I. T. (1994). A study of breast cancer detection practices and beliefs in black women attending public health clinics. Health Education Research, 9, 331–342.Google Scholar
  11. Durkheim, E. (1951). Suicide: A study in sociology. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  12. Forrest, A.P.M. (1986). Breast cancer screening. (Report to the Health Ministers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  13. Gravell, J., Zapka, J. G., & Mamon, J. A. (1985). Impact of breast self-examination planned educational messages on social network communications: an exploratory study. Health Education Quarterly, 12, 51–64.Google Scholar
  14. Helgeson, V. S., & Cohen, S. (1996). Social support and adjustment to cancer: reconciling descriptive, correlational, and intervention research. Health Psychology, 15(2), 135–148.Google Scholar
  15. Kaplan, R. M. (1996). Measuring health outcomes for resource allocation. In R. G. Frank, G. R. Bond, & J. H. McGrew (Eds.), Psychological practice in a changing health care system (pp.101–133). New York: Springer Publishing Company, Inc.Google Scholar
  16. Kleinman, A. (1978). Concepts and a model for the comparison of medical systems as cultural systems. Social Science and Medicine, 12, 85–93.Google Scholar
  17. Lee, H. P., Chia, K. S., & Shanmugaratnam, K. (1992). Cancer Incidence in Singapore. Singapore: Singapore Cancer Registry.Google Scholar
  18. Link, B. G., & Phelan, J. (1995). Social conditions as fundamental causes of disease. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Extra Issue, 80–94.Google Scholar
  19. Litwak, E., & Messeri, P. (1989). Organizational theory, social supports, and mortality rates. American Sociological Review, 54, 49–66.Google Scholar
  20. Miller, A. B. (1985a). Screening for cancer. Toronto: Academic Press, Inc.Google Scholar
  21. Miller, A. B. (1985b). Screening for cancer of the cervix: Implications for public health policy. Journal of Public Health, 6, 43–57.Google Scholar
  22. National Institutes of Health (1980). Cervical cancer screening: The Pap Smear. (National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference Summary. Vol. 3 No. 4). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  23. Popay, J., & Williams, G. (1996). Public health research and lay knowledge. Social Science and Medicine, 42, 759–768.Google Scholar
  24. Seow, A., & Lee, H. P. (1994). Prevalence and determinants of cervical cancer screening: a community-based study in Singapore. Annual Academy Medicine Singapore, 23, 342–347.Google Scholar
  25. Simon, M. S., & Severson, R. K. (1996). Racial differences in survival of female breast cancer in the Detroit metropolitan area. Cancer, 77, 308–324.Google Scholar
  26. Straughan, P. T. (1992). Screening for early detection of cervical cancer: the relationship between social integration and preventive health behavior (Department of Sociology Working Papers No. 111, pp. 1–30). Singapore: National University of Singapore.Google Scholar
  27. Straughan, P. T., & Seow, A. (1995). Barriers to mammography among Chinese women in Singapore: A focus group approach. Health Education Research, 10, 431–441.Google Scholar
  28. Tubiana, M. (1993). Organisation of screening. European Journal of Cancer, 29A, 587–588.Google Scholar
  29. Wallston, K. A., & Wallston, B. S. (1982). Who is responsible for your health? The construct of health locus of control. In G. S. Sanders, & J. Suls (Eds.), Social psychology of health and illness. Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  30. Yu, S. Z., Miller, A. B., & Sherman, G. S. (1982). Optimising the age, number of tests, and test interval for cervical screening in Canada. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 36, 1–10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paulin Tay Straughan
    • 1
  • Adeline Seow
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyNational University of SingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of CommunityOccupational, and Family MedicineSingapore

Personalised recommendations