Socioecological perspectives on cervical cancer and cervical cancer screening among Asian American women. Academic Article uri icon


  • Although cervical cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among Vietnamese American women (VAW) and Korean American women (KAW), both groups consistently report much lower rates of cervical cancer screening compared with other Asian ethnic subgroups and non-Hispanic Whites. This study aimed to explore multilevel factors that may underlie low screening rates among VAW and KAW living in a city where their ethnic communities are relatively small. The socioecological model was used as a conceptual framework. Thirty participants were conveniently recruited from ethnic beauty salons run by VA and KA cosmetologists in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The participants' average age was 44.6 years (SD = .50; range = 21-60). Most participants were married (80 %) and employed (73.3 %), and had health insurance (83.3 %). A qualitative interview was conducted in Vietnamese or Korean and transcribed verbatim. A thematic content analysis was used to identify major codes, categories, and patterns across the transcripts. The study identified several factors at the individual (e.g., pregnancy, poverty, personality), interpersonal (e.g., family responsibility, mother as influential referent), and community (e.g., lack of availability, community size) levels. The study sheds light on four major areas that must be taken into consideration in the development of culturally appropriate, community-based interventions aimed to reduce disparities in cervical cancer screening among ethnic minority women in the United States: (1) ethnic community size and geographic location; (2) cross-cultural similarities and dissimilarities; (3) targeting of not only unmarried young women, but also close referents; and (4) utilization of trusted resources within social networks.

publication date

  • October 2014