A Subjective Culture Approach to Cancer Prevention: Rural Black and White Adults’ Perceptions of Using Virtual Health Assistants to Promote Colorectal Cancer Screening

Melissa J. Vilaro, Danyell S. Wilson-Howard, Jordan M. Neil, Fatemeh Tavassoli, Mohan S. Zalake, Benjamin C. Lok, François P. Modave, Thomas J. George, Folakemi T. Odedina, Peter J. Carek, Aubrey M. Mys, Janice L. Krieger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the US, Black adults are less likely than White adults to be screened for colorectal cancer (CRC). This study uses a subjective culture approach to describe and compare perceptions of a CRC screening intervention delivered via virtual health assistants (VHAs) among rural Black and White study participants. We analyzed 28 focus groups with Black (n = 85) and White (n = 69) adults aged 50–73. Participants, largely recruited through community engagement efforts, tested the VHA intervention on mobile phones provided by the research team. Moderated discussions were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analysis. All groups preferred the VHA to be friendly. Other important cues included trustworthiness, authority, and expertise. Black participants expressed a preference for receiving information about their CRC risk from the VHA compared with White adults. Black participants also expressed the importance of sharing the intervention and the CRC screening messages with younger members of their networks, including family members who could benefit from screening messages before reaching the recommended age for screening. The key similarities and differences between Black and White adults’ perceptions of the intervention that were identified in this study can help inform future efforts to develop effective communication strategies and reduce cancer screening inequities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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