Perceived Discrimination and Ethnic Identity Among Breast Cancer Survivors

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Abstract

Purpose/Objectives:

To examine ethnic identity and sociodemographic factors in minority patients' perceptions of healthcare discrimination in breast cancer care.

Design:

Mixed methods.

Setting:

Participants' homes in the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson, AZ.

Sample:

39 women treated for breast cancer in the past six years: 15 monolingual Spanish-speaking Latinas, 15 Englishspeaking Latinas, and 9 African Americans.

Methods:

Two questionnaires were administered. Individual interviews with participants were conducted by nurse researchers. Quantitative, qualitative, and matrix analytic methods were used.

Main Research Variables:

Ethnic identity and perceptions of discrimination.

Findings:

Eighteen women (46%) believed race and spoken language affected the quality of health care. Perceived disrespect from providers was attributed to participant's skin color, income level, citizenship status, and ability to speak English. Discrimination was more likely to be described in a primary care context, rather than cancer care. Ethnic identity and early-stage breast cancer diagnosis were the only study variables significantly associated with perceived healthcare discrimination.

Conclusions:

This article describes the first investigation examining ethnic identity and perceived discrimination in cancer care delivery. Replication of this study with larger samples is needed to better understand the role of ethnic identity and cancer stage in perceptions of cancer care delivery.

Implications for Nursing:

Identification of ethnic-specific factors that influence patient's perspectives and healthcare needs will facilitate development of more effective strategies for the delivery of cross-cultural patient-centered cancer care.

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