Testing the feasibility of a culturally tailored breast cancer screening intervention with Native Hawaiian women in rural churches

Health Soc Work. 2011 Feb;36(1):55-65. doi: 10.1093/hsw/36.1.55.


The authors report on the feasibility of delivering a church-based breast cancer screening intervention tailored on the cultural strengths of rural-dwelling Hawaiians. Native Hawaiian women are burdened by disproportionately high mortality from breast cancer, which is attributed to low participation in routine mammography. Mammography is proven to be an effective means for detecting disease at its earliest stages, when treatments are most likely to be successful. Culturally tailored screening programs may increase participation. Hawaiian initiatives call for screening innovations that integrate Hawaiian cultural strengths, including those related to spirituality and the extended family system. Before full-scale testing of tailored interventions, it is important to conduct feasibility studies that gauge community receptiveness to the proposed intervention and research methods. Study results establish the attractiveness and potential effectiveness of the authors' screening intervention. Recruitment exceeded targets, and retention rates were comparable to those of other randomized behavioral trials, confirming the value of reaching rural Hawaiian women through churches. Women appreciated the integrative approach of Hawaiian and faith-based values, and positive outcomes are suggested.This article may be relevant to social workers interested in culturally responsive, community-based interventions and to researchers conducting pilot studies and controlled trials of interventions adapted from evidence-based programs.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Cultural Competency
  • Family Relations / ethnology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Hawaii
  • Humans
  • Mammography / methods
  • Mammography / psychology
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Oceanic Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • Spirituality
  • Young Adult