Perceptions of cancer controllability and cancer risk knowledge: the moderating role of race, ethnicity, and acculturation

J Cancer Educ. 2013 Jun;28(2):254-61. doi: 10.1007/s13187-013-0450-8.

Abstract

Literature suggests racial/ethnic minorities, particularly those who are less-acculturated, have stronger fatalistic attitudes toward cancer than do non-Latino Whites. Knowledge of cancer prevention is also lower among racial/ethnic minorities. Moreover, low knowledge about cancer risk factors is often associated with fatalistic beliefs. Our study examined fatalism and cancer knowledge by race/ethnicity and explored whether race/ethnicity moderate the association of fatalism with knowledge of cancer prevention and risk factors. We analyzed data from the Health Information National Trends Survey (2008), a national probability survey, to calculate population estimates of the associations among race/ethnicity, fatalistic beliefs, and knowledge about cancer from multivariable logistic regression. Racial/ethnic minorities had higher odds of holding fatalistic beliefs and lower odds of having knowledge of cancer risk factors than non-Hispanic Whites, and important differences by acculturation among Latinos were observed. Limited evidence of the moderating effect of race/ethnicity on the relationship between fatalistic beliefs and cancer risk factor knowledge was observed. Knowledge of cancer risk factors is low among all race/ethnicities, while fatalistic beliefs about cancer are higher among racial/ethnic minorities compared with non-Hispanic Whites. Implications for cancer education efforts are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Culture
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / ethnology
  • Health Behavior / ethnology
  • Health Education / ethics
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Self Efficacy
  • United States
  • Young Adult