Multilevel Pathways of Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Low-Income Vietnamese Americans: A Structural Equation Modeling Analysis

Cancer Control. Jan-Dec 2021;28:10732748211011077. doi: 10.1177/10732748211011077.


Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) disproportionately affects Vietnamese Americans, especially those with low income and were born outside of the United States. CRC screening tests are crucial for prevention and early detection. Despite the availability of noninvasive, simple-to-conduct tests, CRC screening rates in Asian Americans, particularly Vietnamese Americans, remain suboptimal. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the interplay of multilevel factors - individual, interpersonal, and community - on CRC screening behaviors among low-income Vietnamese Americans with limited English proficiency.

Methods: This study is based on the Sociocultural Health Behavior Model, a research-based model that incorporates 6 factors associated with decision-making and health-seeking behaviors that result in health care utilization. Using a community-based participatory research approach, we recruited 801 Vietnamese Americans from community-based organizations. We administered a survey to collect information on sociodemographic characteristics, health-related factors, and CRC screening-related factors. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to identify direct and indirect predictors of lifetime CRC screening.

Results: Bivariate analysis revealed that a greater number of respondents who never screened for CRC reported limited English proficiency, fewer years of US residency, and lower self-efficacy related to CRC screening. The SEM model identified self-efficacy (coefficient = 0.092, P < .01) as the only direct predictor of lifetime CRC screening. Educational attainment (coefficient = 0.13, P < .01) and health beliefs (coefficient = 0.040, P < .001) had a modest significant positive relationship with self-efficacy. Health beliefs (coefficient = 0.13, P < .001) and educational attainment (coefficient = 0.16, P < .01) had significant positive relationships with CRC knowledge.

Conclusions: To increase CRC screening uptake in medically underserved Vietnamese American populations, public health interventions should aim to increase community members' confidence in their abilities to screen for CRC and to navigate associated processes, including screening preparation, discussions with doctors, and emotional complications.

Keywords: Vietnamese Americans; cancer prevention; colorectal cancer screening; health care access; sociocultural health behavior model.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Asian Americans / psychology
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Early Detection of Cancer / psychology
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Vietnam / ethnology