Neighborhoods and Perceived Norms: Understanding the Impact of Neighborhoods on Perceived Norms and Cancer Screening

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Health Communication

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This study examines the importance of urban ethnic neighborhoods as the context of everyday life, where normative influences on health are formed, modified, and maintained. Built on communication infrastructure theory, this study investigates the role of women's connections to their neighborhood storytelling network-consisting of residents, local/ethnic media, and community organizations-in shaping their descriptive normative perceptions regarding cervical cancer screening. Specifically, we explore the communication mechanisms that underlie Latinas' exposure and attention to media information about Pap tests, their discussions with health-care professionals about Pap tests, their perceptions about how normative Pap tests are among "women like them", and their compliance with cervical cancer screening guidelines. Our findings suggest that neighborhood storytelling resources hold promise for health communication research to understand not only the uptake of Pap tests but also health disparities in other domains that affect diverse populations and communities.


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