Study Suggests Ethnic Differences in Self-Reported Cancer Screening
Many estimates of cancer screening are based on self-reported screening behavior. Several studies suggest that non-whites may be more likely than whites to over-report screening behavior, which may have considerable implications for research on racial and ethnic disparities in cancer screening. This study had two goals: 1) review the literature on the relationship between race/ethnicity and the accuracy of self-reported cancer screening, and 2) develop a conceptual framework that provides a deeper understanding of factors underlying this relationship. Investigators identified 4 studies comparing racial differences in cancer screening rates assessed by claims data versus self-report and 14 validation studies containing subgroups not included in a recent meta-analysis by another author.
Findings show that racial and ethnic minorities may be less likely to provide accurate reports of their cancer screening behavior and that over-reporting may be particularly problematic. Research suggests that this might be rectified by changing how screening questions are worded and developing different methods for data collection. For example, there is evidence that minorities might have more discomfort than whites in discussing their health behaviors with an interviewer from a different racial or ethnic group, and that over-reporting among minorities is greater when the interviewer is white. The conceptual framework offered by study investigators has the potential to advance the field by guiding exploration of where and why possible bias may be occurring and suggesting ways in which these biases might be reduced.
Burgess D, Powell A, Griffin J, and Partin M. Race and the validity of self-reported cancer screening behaviors: Development of a conceptual model. Preventive Medicine February 2009;48(2):99-107.
This study was funded by HSR&D. All authors are part of HSR&D’s Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research in Minneapolis.