Perceptions of cancer fatalism and cancer knowledge: a comparison of older and younger African American women

J Psychosoc Oncol. 2006;24(4):1-13. doi: 10.1300/J077v24n04_01.


Cancer fatalism (the belief that death is inevitable when cancer is present) may influence cancer screening practices among older African American women. Little is known about cancer fatalism among younger women. Guided by the Patient/Provider/System Model, this descriptive study compares cancer fatalism and cancer knowledge among African American college students (n = 353) and women from primary care centers (n = 361). Their average age was 29 years. Data were collected using the Powe Fatalism Inventory and breast and cervical cancer knowledge scales. Women at health centers had higher cancer fatalism and lower cancer knowledge. Differences in life experiences may help explain these findings.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Primary Health Care
  • Student Health Services
  • Uncompensated Care
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / psychology*