Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Susan C. McMillan, Ph.D., ARNP

Committee Member

Cecile A. Lengacher, Ph.D., RN

Committee Member

Mary S. Webb, Ph.D., RN


mammography, self-examination, mortality, pain, incidence


Although the incidence of breast cancer is high among Caucasian women, African American women continue to experience higher breast cancer mortality and lower survival rates in comparison to Caucasian women of the same age and cancer stage (Thomas, 2004). Research regarding breast cancer screening among ethnic minority women from lower socioeconomic groups is extensive, but there is a lack of research that investigates barriers to breast cancer screening among African American women of higher socioeconomic status. The purpose of this study was to compare health beliefs of African American and Caucasian women regarding perceived barriers to breast cancer screening.

The sample for this study consisted of 80 women, 40 African American and 40 Caucasian women, who were between the ages of 40 to 80 years. The study was conducted at two local community churches located in Tampa, Florida. The barriers subscale from the Health Belief scale was used for data collection. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze demographic data, and independent t-tests were used to compare the two groups in their perceived barriers. Results revealed that both groups perceived barriers to breast cancer screening, there were more similarities than differences. However, African American women were significantly more likely to indicate that having a mammogram would make them worry about breast cancer (p = 0.39).

Although previous research has shown differences between African American and Caucasian women, this study did not support those results. The two groups of women were similar in age education and marital status and all were active in their churches. Perhaps these similarities led to the lack of differences in perceived barriers scores between the two groups. This finding lends support to the idea that socioeconomic status more than race leads to disparities in breast cancer screening.