Introduction: The findings of the present study resulted from a larger study of African American and Jamaican culture-based attitudes and behaviors regarding prostate cancer and prostate cancer screening. The original study was designed to conduct an in-depth exploration of ethnicity and culture-related pathways by which psychosocial processes may influence prostate cancer knowledge, attitudes, and screening behaviors. To identify and describe the unique cultural norms that influence African American and African Caribbean (Jamaican) men's attitudes and cancer screening practices, we first had to determine if a clear distinction between African American and Jamaican cultures existed between the two black ethnic subgroups. This study describes the process and challenges whereby investigators identified the ethnic and cultural inclusion criteria by which black men would be categorized as African American or Jamaican as well as the exclusion criteria which would preclude men from participating in the larger study of black ethnicity, culture, and prostate cancer knowledge, attitudes, and screening behaviors.

Methods: A qualitative research design was used to explore what it meant to be either AA/Black or Jamaican/Black. Investigators conducted face-to-face, semistructured, taped interviews with 36 self-identified AA men and 24 Jamaican black men residing in the southern U.S. The participant's open-ended responses of their perceptions of ethnicity and culture were analyzed using the constant comparative method. The results of the analyses were used to assign study participants to either AA or Jamaican ethnocultural categories.

Results: The results of the in-person interviews and analyses revealed qualitative distinctions between AA men born in the U.S. to at least two generations of U.S.-born black parents and first generation Jamaican-born men who resided in the country of Jamaica until at least age 12 and immigrated to the U.S. thereafter. In addition, a subsample of black men who self-identified as Jamaican were able to describe their ability to move effortlessly between the AA and Jamaican cultures depending on the social and political circumstances (these Jamaicans migrated to the U.S. prior to age 12). By contrast, AA men born and residing in the southeastern U.S. did not describe the ability to move in and out of Jamaican cultures.

Conclusion: As a result, we concluded that in order to draw clear distinctions between AA and Jamaican cultures, the Jamaican men in our study population would be defined as first-generation Jamaican immigrants to the U.S. who resided in the country of Jamaica until at least age 12. AA men would be U.S.-born to at least two generations of U.S. born black parents and have lived in the U.S. with the exception of military service.

Citation Information: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2010;19(10 Suppl):A37.