The incidence and prevalence of prostate cancer are very alarming among men in general, among African American men more narrowly, and among Caribbean American men more specifically. While the disease has variable impact on men of different racial and ethnic backgrounds the impact of the disease on diagnosed Caribbean American men and their families is of particular importance. Prostate cancer screening decisions and behaviors can be very helpful in prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery from prostate cancer. This research uses a symbolic interactionist framework within a family systems approach towards evaluating and understanding the experience of prostate cancer screening decision making among heterosexual Caribbean American men and their partners. A family systems approach is a comprehensive approach that considers important concepts relevant to the experience of illness and decision making surrounding health maintenance decisions. Symbolic interactions theory (SIT) focuses on the associations between symbols or shared meanings and verbal and non-verbal interactions actions and communications. It is a framework for understanding how human beings engage in relationships with each other and illustrates how they experience a variety of decision making processes. People are seen as employing their reasoning and symbolizing capacities and flexibly interpreting circumstances while simultaneously adapting to the same circumstances based on how they interpret the situations they confront. A qualitative research using Focus Groups of with 26 men and 24 women who identified as heterosexual Caribbean American and African American men and their partners was done. Their prostate cancer screening decision making experiences were evaluated in order to aid in the development of hypotheses and generate understanding about preventive and intervention strategies for serving the African American and Caribbean American community.

LLU Discipline

Marital and Family Therapy


Counseling and Family Sciences


School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Wilson, Colwick M.

Second Advisor

Fox, Curtis A.

Third Advisor

Montgomery, Susanne

Fourth Advisor

Oloo, Winetta

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Prostate - Cancer; Heterosexual Men; African Americans; West Indian Americans; Prostatic Neoplasms; Health Promotion; Sexual Partners - Psychology; Attitude to Health - Ethnology; Family Therapy;

Subject - Local

Caribbean Americans; Prostate Cancer Screening; Symbolic Interactions Theory;



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

Included in

Counseling Commons