Studies Examine Cervical Cancer, Risky Sexual Behavior, Effect of Welfare Reform
The following summarizes studies from the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health and the journal Ethnicity & Disease about cervical cancer, risky sexual behavior and welfare reform as they relate to minority women and immigrants.
- "Barriers and Facilitators of Cervical Cancer Screening Among Hispanic Women," Ethnicity & Disease: Community-based educational interventions, supportive physicians and friends, and no-cost or discounted Pap tests could increase the use of cervical cancer screenings by Hispanic women, according to the study, by Theresa Byrd of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center and the School of Public Health and colleagues. Researchers conducted 13 focus groups with 84 Hispanic women ages 18 to 61 who discussed beliefs and knowledge of cervical cancer. Based on the information provided by the groups, researchers determined that embarrassment, fear and pain are among the reasons that some Hispanic women do not seek Pap tests. In addition, the women cited systemic barriers, including the gender of the physician and perceived apathy by physicians to patient needs (Byrd et al., Ethnicity & Disease, April 2007).
- "Knowledge About Cervical Cancer Risk Factors, Traditional Health Beliefs and Pap Testing Among Vietnamese American Women," Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health: For the study, researchers, including H. Hoai Do of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in 2002 randomly interviewed 370 Vietnamese women ages 18 to 64 by telephone to determine their knowledge of established cervical cancer risk factors and their traditional beliefs about causes of the cancer and how that affected their use of Pap testing. According to the study, 53% of respondents knew that older age increased their risk of cervical cancer, 62% knew that not getting a Pap test increased their risk and 23% knew that their ethnicity increased their risk. The majority of respondents, 87%, incorrectly believed that poor hygiene was a risk factor for cervical cancer. Approximately 68% had received a Pap test in the last three years. Recent National Health Interview Survey data show that 84% of whites had received a Pap test in the last three years. Researchers recommended that Pap testing intervention programs in the Vietnamese communities address cultural beliefs and traditions and promote preventive measures (Do et al., Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, April 2007).
- "Sexual Behavior and Drug Use Among Asian and Latino Adolescents: Association With Immigrant Status," Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health: U.S.-born Asian and Latino adolescents are more likely to engage in risky sexual and illicit drug behavior than foreign-born youth living in the U.S., according to the study by John Hussey of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and colleagues. For the study, researchers identified nine patterns of sex and drug use behaviors from a group analysis of data from 3,924 Asian and Latino adolescents in grades seven through 12 who participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The behavior patterns ranged from adolescents who abstained from both sex and drugs to those who binge drank and were highly sexually active. Researchers found that the risk patterns of U.S.-born Latinos and Asians was comparable to those of white U.S. adolescents. According to the study, first generation Asian and Latino youth were more likely to abstain from sex and illicit drug use than youth who were second or third generation immigrants. Researchers said that family and residential characteristics could partly explain the discrepancy but said that more research is necessary (Hussey et al., Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, April 2007).
- "Welfare Reform and Health of Immigrant Women and Their Children," Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health: The study -- by Neeraj Kaushal of Columbia University's School of Social Work and Robert Kaestner of the University of Illinois-Chicago's Department of Economics -- examined the association among the 1996 welfare reform and health insurance, use of medical care and the health of low-educated, foreign-born single mothers and their children living in the U.S. Using National Health Interview Surveys from 1992 to 2002, researchers found that welfare reform was associated with a 28% to 40% increase in the number of uninsured, low-educated foreign-born single mothers. The findings suggest the decline in welfare reform caseload since 1996 was associated with a 77% to 130% increase in the number of such individuals reporting delaying or abstaining from medical treatment because of cost and an 11% decline in health visits in the last year. However, researchers did not find a decline in the women's self-reported health but rather found that the women cited improvements. Researchers did not find any significant evidence that welfare reform affected children's access to health insurance and medical treatment or their overall health (Kaushal/Kaestner, Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, April 2007).