Fatalism or destiny? A qualitative study and interpretative framework on Dominican women's breast cancer beliefs

Karen R. Flórez, Alejandra N. Aguirre, Anahí Viladrich, Amarilis Céspedes, Ana Alicia De La Cruz, Ana F. Abraído-Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: A growing literature on Latino's beliefs about cancer focuses on the concept of fatalismo (fatalism), despite numerous conceptual ambiguities concerning its meaning, definition, and measurement. This study explored Latina women's views on breast cancer and screening within a cultural framework of destino (destiny), or the notion that both personal agency and external forces can influence health and life events. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 Latinas from the Dominican Republic aged 40 or over. Results: Respondents reported complex notions of health locus of control that encompassed both internal (e.g., individual action) and external (e.g., the will of God) forces shaping breast cancer prevention efforts. Furthermore, women actively participated in screening because they believed that cancer could become a death sentence if diagnosed late or left untreated. Discussion: In contrast to simplistic notions of 'fatalism', our analysis suggests complex strategies and beliefs regarding breast cancer and cancer screening that speak of resiliency rather than hopelessness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-301
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Fatalism
  • Hispanic
  • Latino

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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