A community-based participatory research approach to understanding pap testing adherence among Vietnamese American immigrants

J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2012 Nov-Dec;41(6):E26-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01414.x. Epub 2012 Oct 2.


Objective: To explore factors potentially influencing Pap testing practices among Vietnamese American immigrant women (VIW, foreign-born) and describe their awareness of cervical cancer screening resources in their community.

Design: Descriptive study guided by the ecological model and community-based participatory research principles.

Setting: Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area.

Participants: Vietnamese American immigrant women (211) who were age 21 and older.

Methods: We used descriptive statistics and logistic regression analyses to analyze a self-administered questionnaire that was pretested and translated using a team approach.

Results: Approximately 74% of VIW who completed the survey reported at least one Pap test, and 69% reported Pap testing history adherent to national guidelines. The factor most strongly associated with Pap testing receipt was suggestion from a friend, followed by longer residency in the United States, lower perceived common barriers, and lower perceived cultural barriers, for example, lack of family support and use of Eastern/Asian medicine. The factor most strongly associated with guideline adherence was having health insurance, followed by a recommendation from a physician or nurse practitioner. Only 11% of VIW knew where to obtain a free or low-cost Pap tests.

Conclusion: Nurses can influence rates of Pap testing among VIW by providing health education through outreach programs targeted at lay health workers and their social networks, identifying at-risk patients such as recently immigrated women, reducing perceived common and cultural barriers to Pap testing, and helping women seek alternative payment options if they lack health insurance. Primary health care providers should be reminded of their essential role in increasing Pap testing adherence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Early Detection of Cancer / standards
  • Early Detection of Cancer / trends
  • Educational Status
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Education / organization & administration
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nursing Research
  • Oregon
  • Patient Participation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Young Adult