Cancer fatalism among elderly Caucasians and African Americans

Oncol Nurs Forum. 1995 Oct;22(9):1355-9.


Purpose: To determine the relationship between selected demographic factors (e.g., education, income, ethnicity, gender, age) and cancer fatalism.

Design: Descriptive study.

Setting: Randomly selected senior citizen centers in a southern state.

Sample: The majority of the participants (N = 192) were female African Americans. Mean age of participants was 76 years, mean years of education was < or = 8 years, and mean income was below $6,500 per year.

Methods: Demographic data was collected and Powe Fatalism Inventory was completed in face-to-face interviews.

Main research variables: Education, income, ethnicity, gender, age, and cancer fatalism.

Findings: Significant negative correlations between cancer fatalism and education and income were found. Significant correlations also existed between cancer fatalism and ethnicity and gender. Age was not a significant predictor of cancer fatalism.

Conclusions: As participants' level of education and income decreased, cancer fatalism scores increased. African Americans and females had higher mean cancer fatalism scores. Education, income, ethnicity, and gender could be used to predict cancer fatalism scores.

Implications for nursing practice: Future research should evaluate the relationship between cancer fatalism and early detection practices.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged / psychology*
  • Attitude to Death / ethnology*
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Regression Analysis
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • White People / psychology*