Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Committee Chair

Satish Kedia

Committee Member

Kenneth D Ward

Committee Member

Brook Harmon

Committee Member

Latrice Pichon


Colorectal cancer (CRC)is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and third leading cause of cancer-related mortality in theUnited States. While overall CRCrates have been in decline since the 1960s, these declines are not observed equally across all racial/ethinc groups. Specifically, African Americans exhibit disparities in CRCincidence, stage of diagnosis, and survival. Additionally, African Americans have lower rates of CRC screening uptake when compared to Whites. This health protective behavior has been proven to lower CRCmortality, so it is paramount we understand barriers to engagement in CRCscreening. The research literature provides some knowledge of commonly faced barriers, however, there is a gap in understanding the differences in barriers to screening as experienced among African American men and women who have never been screened for CRC. To explore these questions, a qualitative study design was used. A total of 32 African Americans, 17 men and 15 women, participates in a semi-structured interview to learn about potential gender differences in barriers to screening as well as to learn about any barriers not currently found in the literature. Findings resulted in the discovery of barriers experienced by African American men, which were linked to ideas of masculine identity and norms. These included:stigma and embarrassment, not engaging in preventative healthcare, and not believing in the preventability of cancer overall. African American women were more likely to identify health behaviors to prevent cancer, willing to undergo invasive medical procedures like a colonoscopy, and believe that cancer is preventable. Implications of these findings on CRCscreening interventions as well as future research are also explored.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.