Using the health belief model to assess racial/ethnic disparities in cancer-related behaviors in an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center catchment area

Cancer Causes Control. 2021 Jun 16. doi: 10.1007/s10552-021-01457-7. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Racial and ethnic minorities experience well-documented disparities across the cancer trajectory. However, factors underlying these disparities may vary regionally. The Health Belief Model (HBM) was developed to explain and predict health-related prevention and early detection behaviors, particularly uptake of health services. Our goal was to use the HBM to guide an exploration of factors that contribute to racial/ethnic health disparities in the catchment area of a large National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Southeastern United States.

METHODS: We conducted a secondary analysis of data collected by the cancer center for its triennial Community Health Needs Assessment, which sampled adults from the center’s 15-county catchment area. White non-Hispanics (WNHs; n = 887), Black non-Hispanics (BNHs; n = 78), Hispanics/Latinxs (H/Ls; n = 185), and those identifying as another race/ethnicity (“Others”; n = 39) were compared across key HBM variables, including demographic/psychosocial information, perceived benefits and barriers to preventive health behaviors, risk perception, and health behavior outcomes.

RESULTS: Controlling for annual household income, relationship status, and age (for certain screening behaviors), significant differences were seen in information-seeking behaviors, risk perception, community attributes, discrimination, and distress. Non-WNH groups reported worse community attributes, higher everyday discrimination, lower health literacy, less confidence in their ability to get health information, and lower perceived risk of cancer.

CONCLUSION: This analysis presents a better understanding of how HBM factors may influence health disparities in the cancer center’s catchment area. Results describe the needs of community members from racial and ethnic minority groups, which will inform future research, education, outreach, and service activities.

PMID:34132914 | DOI:10.1007/s10552-021-01457-7