Acculturation and Pap smear screening practices among college-aged Vietnamese women in the United States

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The purposes of this study were both to gather information on the prevalence of Pap smear screening among college-aged Vietnamese women and to identify predictive factors that influence Vietnamese women to engage in early cervical cancer detection behavior. This study also examines the role of acculturation in explaining cervical cancer screening behavior. Data were collected through mail and telephone surveys. Of those respondents (n = 207), approximately one-third (36.8%) reported having had a Pap smear. More than one-third (39.3%) of sexually active respondents reported never having had a Pap smear. Acculturated women were more likely to be sexually active and to be obtaining regular Pap smears. In the logistic regression model, marital status, sexual activity, and a belief that only married women should have a Pap smear were important predictors of prior reported Pap smear experience. These study findings suggest that less-acculturated women appear to have the belief that cervical cancer screening is more important for married women than for unmarried women, regardless of their sexual activity. The existence of such misconceptions underscores the importance of offering culturally relevant cancer education that addresses related misconceptions.

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