Objectives: We sought to explore the relationship between social networks and colorectal cancer (CRC) screening among males and females.
Methods: We examined 960 men and 1,947 women aged 50 years or older who participated in the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey.
Results: Bivariate analysis showed that lower levels of social integration were associated with a lower likelihood of CRC screening for both genders. After controlling for sociodemographic variables, the level of social integration remained independently associated with CRC screening. The link between each component of social networks and CRC screening was also examined. Among men, those who did not have friends/family to talk to about their health were less likely to be screened (OR 0.48, 95% CI: 0.30-0.77). Among women, those who were unmarried (OR 0.67, 95% CI: 0.41-0.93), those who did not have friends/family to talk to about their health (OR 0.62, 95% CI: 0.43-0.77), and those who were not a member of any community organizations (OR 0.58, 95% CI: 0.43-0.90) were less likely to be screened.
Conclusion: For both men and women, individuals who were socially isolated were less likely to get CRC screening compared with individuals who were less isolated. The observed gender differences indicate the need for investigation of the social context and the meaning of elements of social networks in men and women.