Colorectal cancer prevention: Perspectives of key players from social networks in a low-income rural US region

Nancy E. Schoenberg, Kathryn Eddens, Adam Jonas, Claire Snell-Rood, Christina R. Studts, Benjamin Broder-Oldach, Mira L. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (SciVal)


Social networks influence health behavior and health status. Within social networks, "key players" often influence those around them, particularly in traditionally underserved areas like the Appalachian region in the USA. From a total sample of 787 Appalachian residents, we identified and interviewed 10 key players in complex networks, asking them what comprises a key player, their role in their network and community, and ideas to overcome and increase colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. Key players emphasized their communication skills, resourcefulness, and special occupational and educational status in the community. Barriers to CRC screening included negative perceptions of the colonoscopy screening procedure, discomfort with the medical system, and misinformed perspectives on screening. Ideas to improve screening focused on increasing awareness of women's susceptibility to CRC, providing information on different screening tests, improving access, and the key role of health-care providers and key players themselves. We provide recommendations to leverage these vital community resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30396
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being
StatePublished - Feb 22 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Conflict of interest and funding This research received funding from the Ohio State University and the University of Kentucky through their Centers for Clinical Translational Science Programs. UL1TR000117.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 N. E. Schoenberg et al.


  • Cancer screening
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Health inequities
  • Qualitative
  • Rural
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Gerontology
  • Fundamentals and skills
  • Health Policy


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