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The Subjection of Women to a Patriarchal Society in Mexico and its Effect on Cervical Cancer Screening Behavior

Byrne, Meghan Caitlin (2010) The Subjection of Women to a Patriarchal Society in Mexico and its Effect on Cervical Cancer Screening Behavior. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Latin American countries show some of the highest incidences of cervical cancer in the world. Many barriers that impact decisions regarding screening behavior have been identified in Mexico; however, the specific role of male partners in the decision-making process is rarely explored. This study investigated the impact of male sexual partners, as well as perceptions of the medical community, on female decisions concerning cervical cancer screenings in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán. It also examined whether the perception of subjection discourages women from seeking medical care. Data were obtained through 75 surveys and 9 interviews conducted in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, with women between the ages of 25 and 64 years. Cross-tabulations, descriptive statistics, and chi-squares of the survey data, along with the coding of interviews, were performed to examine barriers associated with cervical cancer screening. Survey data shows that 24.2% of women said their partners make their health decisions for them, and 8% said that their partners would not support them if they wanted a pelvic exam. Almost half (48.4%) of the women said their partners would not be comfortable with them being examined by a male medical provider. Additionally, 28% of women stated that they fear a male doctor might take advantage of them during an examination. In the interviews, women discussed male machismo, or exaggerated masculinity, and how it contributes to their feelings of subjection. More educated women were less likely to share these experiences. Women expressed that male influence is indeed a barrier to cervical cancer screenings. Neither male influences nor negative perceptions of medical providers were significantly associated with screening behavior. More research is needed to better understand the contradiction between what women perceive and actually do. Additionally, future research should explore the role of cash incentives for screening on screening behavior. This research is relevant to public health because mortality due to cervical cancer is high in Mexico, and it is important to understand barriers to screening since early detection increases the odds of survival. This study gives insight into the role of female subjection to a patriarchal society as a barrier to cervical cancer screening.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Byrne, Meghan
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDocumét, Patricia Ipdocumet@pitt.eduPDOCUMET
Committee MemberFox, Andrea Rfoxar@upmc.eduAFOX
Committee MemberGarza, Mary Amgarza@pitt.eduMGARZA
Date: 29 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 12 April 2010
Approval Date: 29 June 2010
Submission Date: 10 April 2010
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: cervical cancer; machismo; male influence; Mexico; partner support; preventive health; rural; screening barriers; women's empowerment
Other ID:, etd-04102010-151105
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:35


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