, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 80-88

Underutilizers of mammography screening today: Characteristics of women planning, undecided about, and not planning a mammogram

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Abstract

Using concepts from the Precaution Adoption Process Model, we identified behavioral factors, sociodemographic and psychosocial variables, and beliefs about breast cancer that discriminated among women at different stages with regard to their intention to obtain mammography screening. An independent survey company conducted telephone interviews with 2,507 women aged 50 to 80 who were identified as underutilizers of mammography screening. Each underutilizer was assigned to one of three stages with regard to intention to get a mammogram: (a) definitely planning, (b) thinking about, and (c) not planning. Estimated actual risk of breast cancer, perceived risk to breast cancer, worry about breast cancer, and fear of learning from a mammogram that one has breast cancer were variables found to be significantly associated with intention to obtain a mammogram for several subgroups of underutilizing women. There are significant behavioral and psychosocial variables, beliefs and feelings about breast cancer, and demographic characteristics that distinguish underutilizing women at various stages with regard to intention to obtain mammography screening. Our findings provide new information that could help the health care professional motivate women who are not planning to utilize this preventive health measure to become regular utilizers.

Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute (Grant Number CA60130-05). The data collection was part of a joint effort with the National Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Screening Consortium.
The authors wish to thank Dr. Neil Weinstein for his feedback concerning the precaution adoption process model, Karen Lenehan for her help in the preparation of the manuscript, and Sharon Longo for help with the data analysis.