Getting Black Men to Undergo Prostate Cancer Screening: The Role of Social Capital

Lorraine T. Dean, S. V. Subramanian, David R. Williams, Katrina Armstrong, Camille Zubrinsky Charles, Ichiro Kawachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Despite higher rates of prostate cancer–related mortality and later stage of prostate cancer diagnosis, Black/African American men are significantly less likely than non-Hispanic White men to use early detection screening tools, like prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer. Lower screening rates may be due, in part, to controversy over the value of prostate cancer screenings as part of routine preventive care for men, but Black men represent a high-risk group for prostate cancer that may still benefit from PSA testing. Exploring the role of social factors that might be associated with PSA testing can increase knowledge of what might promote screening behaviors for prostate cancer and other health conditions for which Black men are at high risk. Using multilevel logistic regression, this study analyzed self-report lifetime use of PSA test for 829 Black men older than 45 years across 381 Philadelphia census tracts. This study included individual demographic and aggregated social capital data from the Public Health Management Corporation’s 2004, 2006, and 2008 waves of the Community Health Database, and sociodemographic characteristics from the 2000 U.S. Census. Each unit increase in community participation was associated with a 3 to 3.5 times greater likelihood of having had a PSA test (odds ratio = 3.35). Findings suggest that structural forms of social capital may play a role in screening behaviors for Black men in Philadelphia. A better understanding of the mechanism underlying the link between social capital and screening behaviors can inform how researchers and interventionists develop tools to promote screening for those who need it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-396
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of men's health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 13 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Black/African American men
  • Philadelphia
  • community participation
  • prostate cancer
  • prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
  • screening
  • social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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