Social Norm, Family Communication, and HBV Screening among Asian Americans

Hee Soon Juon, Rajiv N. Rimal, Ann Klassen, Sunmin Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Individuals’ behaviors are influenced by those of others in their social environment (i.e., descriptive norms), as well as by how individuals perceive they should behave in that environment (e.g., injunctive norms). Although social norms are thought to play an important role in hepatitis B virus (HBV) screening, limited theoretical or empirical guidance exists on how the underlying process works. In addition, norms are social phenomena that are spread through family discussion about the importance of getting HBV screening. Using the theory of normative social behavior (TNSB), this study examined the roles of injunctive norms (IN), descriptive norms (DN), and family discussion in HBV screening behavior among Asian Americans. Data from a survey of Asian Americans in the Baltimore Washington metropolitan area (N = 877) were used to test underlying theoretical propositions. DN and family discussion emerged as key factors in HBV screening behavior among all Asian Americans. IN were associated with HBV screening among Chinese and Korean Americans, but not for Vietnamese Americans. Family discussion moderated the influence of DN on behavior among Chinese and Vietnamese Americans. However, the main effect of DN on screening behavior was not modified by IN (no interactions between DN and IN). The results indicate that family discussion and social norms are integral in enabling Asian Americans to undergo HBV screening and warrant sensitivity in the design and implementation of a liver cancer prevention program in this high-risk group of Asian Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-989
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of health communication
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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