Fatalism may prevent Latinas from using cancer screening services

October 08, 2015

To assess whether they were fatalistic, women were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with statements such as "cancer is like a death sentence," "cancer is God's punishment," "illness is a matter of chance," "there is little that I can do to prevent cancer," "it does not do any good to try to change the future because the future is in the hands of God."

The researchers found that seven of the eleven studies reported a statistically significant inverse association between fatalism and utilization of cancer screening services. This suggests that fatalism may indeed act as a barrier to cancer screening, taking into account socio-economic status and access to health services. However, the authors caution that additional research is necessary to enhance our understanding of the relationships among socioeconomic and structural barriers to health services, fatalism, and cancer screening behavior.

The authors conclude: "Improving our understanding of the importance of fatalism in explaining underutilization of cancer screening services among Latinas may drive the development of more effective and culturally appropriate interventions to reduce ethnic disparities in cancer."

Source: Springer