Macquarie University
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Factors influencing breast and cervical cancer control in ethnically diverse groups of women

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posted on 2022-03-28, 14:28 authored by Ana Petrak
Utilization of breast and cervical cancer control behaviours in Australia is less than optimal, particularly amongst Eastern European and Arabic populations. Psychosocial factors have generally been found to predict cancer control uptake, yet little is known of the role of these factors amongst these ethnic populations. Guided by comprehensive health behavior theories, this research assessed the associations of cognitive and affective psychosocial variables to the utilization of breast and cervical cancer control behaviours among Croatian-, Lebanese-, Macedonian- and Australian-born women. In the absence of appropriate measures, the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire for healthy people (IPQ-RH) was empirically validated in the Arabic, Croatian and English languages for breast and cervical cancer contexts. Across several studies (total N = 904) women representing each of the four ethnic groups completed self-report measures relating to cognitive (e.g., attitudes towards the efficacy of mammography to detect cancer) and affective (e.g., breast cancer worry) factors and cancer control behaviour use (i.e., self-examination of the breasts (BSE), clinical breast examination (CBE), mammography, Pap smear and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake). Overall, Lebanese women were significantly lower users of BSE and mammography than Australian and Croatian women, and Macedonian women were less likely to have accepted the HPV vaccine than Australian women. Multiple regression analyses showed that across the studies a number of psychosocial and behavioural factors were associated with breast cancer screening (i.e., breast cancer worry, general risk factors and negative emotional representations) and cervical cancer control use (i.e., identity (symptoms), cyclical timelines for cervical cancer, perceived efficacy of cervical cancer control and general risk factors). The modifiable psychosocial factors that were identified in this research can provide the basis for future tailored health promotion initiatives targeting these ethnic groups to enhance their utilization of the cancer control strategies.


Table of Contents

1. Literature review on cancer rates, cancer control measures and health behaviour theories -- 2. Literature review on ethnicity, psychosocial factors, demographics/cancer history and their relationships with cancer control -- 3. Cognitions, affects and breast cancer screening among ethnically diverse Australian women -- 4. Cognitions, affects and cervical cancer control among ethnically diverse Australian women -- 5. Validation of the revised illness perception questionnaire for healthy people (IPQ-RH) for breast and cervical cancer -- 6. Validation of the Croatian and Lebanese revised illness perception questionnaires for healthy people (IPQ-RH) -- 7. Illness representations and the enactment of breast and cervical cancer control behaviours among ethnically diverse women -- 8. Variables excluded from the current dissertation -- 9. Conclusions, implications for health promotion and recommendations for future research -- References -- Appendices.


Empirical thesis submitted to fulfil the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, Macquarie University, 2012 Includes bibliographical references

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Kerry Sherman


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Ana Petrak 2013.




1 online resources (490 pages)

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mq:33203 2176449