Commentary: fatalismo reconsidered: a cautionary note for health-related research and practice with Latino populations

Ethn Dis. 2007 Winter;17(1):153-8.


Over recent years, interest has grown in studying whether fatalismo (fatalism) deters Latinos from engaging in various health promotion and disease detection behaviors, especially with regard to cancer screening. This commentary presents problematic issues posed by the concept of fatalism, focusing on research on Latinos and cancer screening. We discuss key findings in the literature, analyze methodologic and conceptual problems, and highlight structural contexts and other barriers to health care as critical to the fatalism concept. Although the need to better understand the role of fatalistic beliefs on health is great, we discuss the public health implications of reaching premature conclusions concerning the effect of fatalism on Latinos' cancer screening behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Culture
  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Health Services Research
  • Hispanic or Latino* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Public Health
  • White People / psychology