A Qualitative Study of Smoking-Related Causal Attributions and Risk Perceptions in Cervical Cancer Survivors

Gabriella E. Puleo, Tia N. Borger, Devin Montgomery, Jessica N. Rivera Rivera, Jessica L. Burris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The prevalence of smoking among cervical cancer survivors typically exceeds what is found among women in the general population and other cancer survivors. Yet, there is a dearth of literature on risk and protective factors related to smoking among cervical cancer survivors, especially when it comes to identification of variables that are amendable to intervention. To help fill this gap in the literature, this qualitative study examines the nature of smoking-related causal attributions and risk perceptions in cervical cancer survivors who smoked at cancer diagnosis. Methods: Participants are 21 female cervical cancer survivors (M=45.7, SD=8.4 years old), all diagnosed in the past five years. Nearly three-quarters of participants reported smoking in the past month. Results: Smoking was not uniformly recognized as a cause of cervical cancer (whether in general or participants' own cancer); the link between smoking and lung, head-neck, and other cancers was more readily accepted. Despite generally weak endorsements of causal attributions, many participants reported smoking significantly increases risk for poor clinical (e.g., recurrence) and quality of life (e.g., pain) outcomes after cervical cancer diagnosis. Conclusions: Findings suggest cervical cancer survivors may not fully understand or appreciate the role of smoking in cervical cancer risk whereas their beliefs about the role of smoking in cervical cancer prognosis are more well-formed. This study highlights the potential role of causal attributions and risk perceptions in understanding and addressing the smoking-related experience of cervical cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-506
Number of pages7
JournalPsycho-Oncology
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords

  • cancer
  • health knowledge, attitudes, and practice
  • oncology
  • qualitative research
  • smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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