Use of peer role models to increase Pap smear and mammogram screening in Mexican-American and black women

Am J Prev Med. Sep-Oct 1993;9(5):290-6.


We evaluated the use of a community-based intervention model to increase Pap smear and mammogram screening in minority women. The community programs were based on the A Su Salud (To Your Health) model, which includes the presentation of positive role models in the media and positive social reinforcement by community volunteers. Mexican-American women 40-70 years of age in Corpus Christi, Texas, and black women 40-70 years of age in Galveston, Texas, were targeted. Role models from the target community told their personal stories about cancer screening through local media (television, radio, and newspapers). Volunteers reinforced media messages among the target audience by distributing newsletters. Preintervention and postintervention cross-sectional surveys among the target group measured relative increases in knowledge, attitude, and practice. Pap smear use (past two years) was not substantially improved. Mammogram use (past two years) increased 57% among Mexican-American women (prevalence rate ratio [PRR] = 1.57; 90% confidence interval [CI] = 1.19, 2.08) and 30% among black women (PRR = 1.30; 90% CI = 1.04, 1.63). We demonstrated the feasibility of implementing a peer role model intervention at the local health department level. The improvement in mammogram use among high-risk women is encouraging, but further controlled research is needed to test the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of this approach.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Peer Group
  • Role
  • Texas
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data*