Michielutte, Robert; Mark B. Dignan, Penny C. Sharp, Karen Blinson, and H. Bradley Wells. “Psychosocial factors related to cervical screening among Lumbee women.” American Journal of Health Behavior 23.2 (March/April 1999): 115-127.
American Indian women have unusually high occurrence and mortality rates from cervical cancer, but little research has been done on how to increase their annual Pap tests. This article discusses quantitative information from the North Carolina Native American Cervical Cancer Prevention Project. The researchers studied a sample of Lumbee women to determine barriers they perceive to receiving cervical cancer screening by Pap smear. Three hundred seventy-eight women were given a list of seventeen possible barriers to cervical screening and asked whether each barrier “had ever been something [they] thought about in deciding whether or not to get a Pap smear” (p. 119).
Over 38% of women mentioned cost as a factor that might influence their decision to get a Pap smear. The only factors significantly associated with lower likelihood to get a Pap smear were the fear that the test would be embarrassing and uncomfortable. More emphasis needs to be placed, the researchers concluded, on education programs for older women (who are at higher risk for cervical cancer), since this study found older Lumbee women more likely to dislike being examined by male doctors, more likely to feel cervical cancer is incurable, and less likely to understand the benefits of screening.