Developing a Peer-to-Peer mHealth Application to Connect Hispanic Cancer Patients

Jennifer R. Banas*, David Victorson, Sandra Gutierrez, Evelyn Cordero, Judy Guitleman, Niina Haas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Cancer and its treatment can significantly impact health-related quality of life (HRQOL) (J Pain Symptom Manag 9 (3):186–192, 1994; Soc Sci Med 46:1569–1584, 1998), particularly for Hispanics (Healthcare Financ Rev 29 (4):23–40, 2008; Psycho-Oncology 21 (2):115–124, 2012). Moreover, providers of cancer support for this population may encounter unique challenges. Grounded in social capital theory, this study identified Spanish-speaking, Hispanic breast cancer survivor support needs and preferences for a mHealth intervention. A user-centered, community-engaged research design was employed, consisting of focus groups made up of constituents from a local Hispanic-serving, cancer support organization. Focus group audio-recordings, translated into English, were coded using a grounded theory analytic approach. First, lead researchers read the complete transcripts to obtain a general sense of the discussion. Next, coding rules were established (e.g., code at the most granular level; double and triple code if necessary, code exhaustively) and initial codebook was created through open-coding. Three new coders were trained to establish requisite kappa statistic levels (≥.70) for inter-rater reliability. With training and discussion, kappa estimates reached.81–.88. Focus group (n = 31) results revealed a mHealth intervention targeting Hispanic cancer patients should not only offer information and support on disease/treatment effects but also respond to the individual’s HRQOL, particularly emotional and social challenges. Specifically, participants expressed a strong desire for Spanish content and to connect with others who had gone through a similar experience. Overall, participants indicated they would have access to and would use such an intervention. Findings indicate positive support for a mHealth tool, which is culturally tailored to Spanish speakers, is available in Spanish, and connects cancer patients with survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-165
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Cancer
  • Hispanic
  • Social capital theory
  • Social media
  • mHealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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