Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Robin Vanderpool, DrPH, CHES

Committee Member

Corrine Williams, ScD

Committee Member

Richard Crosby, PhD


INTRO Breast cancer is the most common type of malignancy among women in the United States (U.S.) and the second leading killer. Despite the availability of effective breast screening tools, a disparity has formed. Specifically, white women over the age of 40 experienced a higher incidence rate of breast cancer, while African American women experience higher related mortality rate. The purpose of this study was to examine SES and ethnicity/race factors that may influence breast cancer screening rates, and specifically explore how those factors may differ between African American and white women.

METHODS Women between the ages of 50-74 who have never been told that they had cancer were asked a series of questions related to breast cancer screening behavior. They were also asked about their race/ethnicity, and SES. Combined, education level, employment status, annual income, and insurance coverage act as proxy measures for SES. Bivariate analysis using chi-square tests and binary logistic regression were used to determine factors associated with screening behaviors.

RESULTS The majority of the sample were white (78%) and African American (11%). A higher percentage of African Americans were up to date with receiving a mammogram within the past 2 years at every educational level, employment status, and income level, compared to white females. Using binary logistic regression, African American women had twice the odds of receiving a mammogram than white women.

DISCUSSION With SES proving to have minimal association with factors influencing mammography behavior, intervention programs should focus on other factors that may be influencing breast cancer mortality rates in African American women. Increasing the recommendation for breast cancer screening from biennially to annually could potentially allow the disease to be detected sooner and be treated.

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