Predictors of regular Pap smears among Korean-American women

Prev Med. 2003 Dec;37(6 Pt 1):585-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2003.09.006.


Background: Many Korean-American women (KAW) are unaware of the importance of regular cancer screening. This research estimates rates and examines predictors of regular cervical cancer screening among KAW.

Methods: Face-to-face surveys were conducted with 459 KAW residing in Maryland. Study participants were recruited through Korean churches and senior housing.

Results: Thirty-nine percent of women had regular Pap smears. Regular Pap smear rates varied with age, with women 65 years and older least likely to have regular Pap smears. In multiple logistic regression, the strongest correlate of regular Pap smear was knowledge of guidelines. Physician recommendation, having health insurance, and having friends or family members receiving Pap smears were also important facilitators. Spoken English proficiency interacted with education for an outcome; women with a low level of education and low English proficiency had lower rates of Pap smears than those who had a high level of education and high proficiency. The most frequently given reason for lack of a regular Pap smear was a belief that screening was unnecessary if a woman had no symptoms of cervical cancer.

Conclusions: Strategies for education on screening guidelines, along with physician referrals, should be implemented. Culturally appropriate educational programs about cervical cancer screening should be developed for less educated and less acculturated immigrant women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian Americans*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Korea / ethnology
  • Logistic Models
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vaginal Smears*