CERVIXCHECK: A SPIRITUALLY-BASED SMS TEXT MESSAGING PILOT INTERVENTION TO INCREASE CERVICAL CANCER AWARENESS AND PAP TEST SCREENING INTENTION AMONG AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN
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African American women account for a disproportionate burden of cervical cancer incidence and mortality rate when compared to non-Hispanic White women. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer, and women can be screened for it with a routine Pap test. Given that religion occupies an essential place in African American lives, framing health messages with important spiritual themes and delivering them through a popular communication delivery channel may allow for a more culturally-relevant and accessible technology-based approach to promoting cervical cancer educational content to African American women.
Using community-engaged research as a framework, the purpose of this multiple methods study was to develop, pilot test, and evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and initial efficacy of a spiritually-based SMS text messaging intervention to increase cervical cancer awareness and Pap test screening intention among African American women. The study recruited church-attending African American women ages 21-65 and was conducted in three phases. Phases 1 and 2 consisted of a series of focus group discussions (n=15), cognitive response interviews (n=8), and initial usability testing that were conducted to inform the intervention development and modifications. Phase 3 utilized a non-experimental one-group pretest-posttest design to pilot test the 16-day text messaging intervention (n=52). Of the individuals enrolled, forty-six completed the posttest (retention rate=88%).
Findings provided evidence for the early feasibility, high acceptability, and some initial efficacy of the CervixCheck intervention. There were significant pre-post increases observed for knowledge about cervical cancer and the Pap test (p = .001) and subjective norms (p = .006). Additionally, results post-intervention revealed that 83% of participants reported being either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the program and 85% found the text messages either “useful” or “very useful”. 85% of the participants also indicated that they would “likely” or “very likely” share the information they learned from the intervention with the women around them, with 39% indicating that they had already shared some of the information they received with others they knew. A spiritually-based SMS text messaging intervention could be a culturally appropriate and cost-effective method of promoting cervical cancer early detection information to African American women.