Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 523–538 | Cite as

Breast self-examination in women 35 and older: A prospective study

  • Victoria L. Champion


A correlational study was conducted to identify attitudinal variables specified by the Health Belief Model that were related to frequency and total performance (frequency and proficiency) of breast self-examination (BSE). The probability sample consisted of 362 women, ages 35 and over, who were initially contacted via random digit dialing. Data were collected during in-home interviews by trained graduate assistants and by telephone interview 1 year later. Results supported the ability of past performance, perceived barriers, and knowledge to predict current total performance (combined frequency and proficiency). In addition, frequency for breast self-examination was predicted by past frequency, barriers, health motivation, control, being taught by a doctor, confidence, having BSE procedure checked, benefits, and susceptibility. Results lend support to use of attitudinal and experiential variables in predicting women's actual behaviors in relation to breast self-examination.

Key words

breast self-examination health beliefs cancer 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alagna, S., and Reddy, D. (1984). Predictors of proficient technique in successful lesion detection in self breast examination.Health Psychol. 3(2): 113–127.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. American Cancer Society (1987).Cancer Facts and Figures (American Cancer Society Publ. No. 2003), U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1982). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency.Am. Psychol. 37: 122–147.Google Scholar
  4. Becker, M. H. (ed.) (1974).The Health Belief Model and Personal Health Behavior, Charles B. Slack, Thorofare, NJ.Google Scholar
  5. Becker, M. H., Drachman, R. H., and Kirscht, J. P. (1974). A new approach to explaining sick role behavior in low income populations.Am. J. Publ. Health 64: 204–216.Google Scholar
  6. Bennett, S., Lawrence, W., Fleischmann, K., Gifford, C., and Slack, W. (1983). Profile of women practicing breast self-examination.JAMA 249(4): 488–491.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Brailey, J. (1986). Effects of health teaching in the workplace and women's knowledge, beliefs, and practices regarding breast self examination.Res. Nurs. Health 9: 223–231.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Calnan, M., and Moss, S. (1984). The health belief model in compliance with education given at a class in breast self-examination.J. Health Soc. Behav. 25: 198–210.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Calnan, M., and Rutter, D. (1986). The health beliefs predict health behavior? An analysis of breast self-examination.Soc. Sci. and Med. 22: 673–678.Google Scholar
  10. Celentano, D., and Holtzman, D. (1983). Breast self-examination competency: An analysis of self-reported practice and associated characteristics.Am. J. Publ. Health 73(11): 1321–1323.Google Scholar
  11. Champion, V. L. (1984). Instrument development for health belief model constructs.ANS 6(3): 73–85.Google Scholar
  12. Champion, V. L. (1985). Use of the health belief model in determining frequency of self breast exam.Res. Nurs. Health 8(4): 373–379.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Champion, V. L. (1987). The relationship of breast self-examination to health belief model variables.Res. Nurs. Health 10(6): 375–382.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Constanza, M., and Foster, R. (1984). Relationship between breast self-examination and death from cancer by age groups.Cancer Detect. Prevent. 7: 103–108.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Edgar, L., Shamian, J., and Patterson, D. (1984). Factors affecting the nurse as a teacher and practicer of breast self-examination.Int. J. Nurs. Stud. 21(4): 255–265.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Feldman, J., Carter, A., Nicastri, A., and Hosat, S. (1981). Breast self-examination, relationship to stage of breast cancer at diagnosis.Cancer 47: 2740–2745.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Fishbein, M., and Ajzen, I. (1975).Belief, Attitude, Intention, and Behavior: An Introduction to Theory and Research, Addison Wesley, Reading, Mass.Google Scholar
  18. Foster, R., Lang, S., Constanza, M., Wordem, J., Haines, C., and Yates, J. (1978). Breast self examination practices and breast cancer stages.N. Engl. J. Med. 299(6): 2654–2700.Google Scholar
  19. Frank-Stromborg, M. (1986). The role of the nurse in early detector of cancer: Population sixty-six years of age and older.Oncol. Nurs. Forum 13: 66–74.Google Scholar
  20. Gottlieb, N., and Green, L. (1984). Life events, social network, life style, and health: An analyses of the 1979 National Survey of Personal Health Practices and Consequences.Health Educ. Q. 11(1): 91–105.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Green, L. W. (1970). Manual for scoring socioeconomic status for research or health behavior.Publ. Health Rep. 85(9): 815–827.Google Scholar
  22. Greenwald, P., Nasca, P., Lawrence, E., Norton, J., McGarrah, P., Gabride, T., and Carlton, K. (1978). Estimated effect of breast self examination and routine physician examinations on breast cancer mortality.N. Engl. J. Med. 299(6): 271–273.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hallal, J. (1982). The relationship of health beliefs, health locus of control, and self concept to the practice of breast self-examination in adult women.Nurs. Res. 31(3): 137–142.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Hallal, J. (1983). A descriptive analysis of knowledge about breast cancer.Health Values Achiev. High Level Well. 7(4): 11–14.Google Scholar
  25. Hershey, J. C., Morton, B. G., Davis, J. B., and Reichgott, M. D. (1980). Patient compliance and antihypertensive medication.Am. J. Publ. Health 70: 1081–1088.Google Scholar
  26. Howe, H. L. (1981). Social factors associated with breast self-examination among high risk women.Am. J. Publ. Health 71(3): 251–255.Google Scholar
  27. Howe, H. (1985). Breast self-examination palpation skill: A methodological note.J. Chron. Dis. 38: 995–1001.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Howe, H. L. (1986). Enhancing the effectiveness of media messages promoting regular breast self-examination.Publ. Health Rep. 96: 134–142.Google Scholar
  29. Howe, H. L., and Hoff, M. B. (1983). Breast self-examination and breast cancer: A note on past disease reporting bias.Cancer Detect. Prevent. 6: 473–483.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Huguley, C., and Brown, R. (1981). The value of breast self-examination.Cancer 47: 989–995.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Jaco, D. (1983). Breast cancer knowledge levels and self-examination practices of Missouri women.Mo. Med. 80(9): 576–581.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Kelly, P. (1978). Breast self examination: Who does them and why?J. Behav. Med. 2(1): 31–38.Google Scholar
  33. Lashley, M. E. (1987). Predictors of breast self-examination practice among elderly women.Adv. Nurs. Sci. 9(4): 25–34.Google Scholar
  34. Lauver, D. (1987). Theoretical perspectives relevant to breast self-examination.Adv. Nurs. Sci. 9(4): 16–24.Google Scholar
  35. Lavrakas, J. (1987).Telephone Survey Methods: Sampling Selection and Supervision, Sage, Newbury Park, Calif.Google Scholar
  36. Massey, V. (1986). Perceived susceptibility to breast cancer and practice of breast self-examination.Nurs. Res. 35(3): 183–185.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Norman, R., and Tudiver, F. (1986). Predictor of breast self examination among family practice patients.J. Family Pract. 22(2): 149–153.Google Scholar
  38. O'Malley, S., and Fletcher, S. (1987). Screening for breast cancer with breast self-examination. A critical review.JAMA, 275(16): 2197–2203.Google Scholar
  39. Opinion Research Corporation (1980).Breast Cancer: A Measure of Progress of Public Understanding, DHHS Publ. No. (NIH) 81-2291, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Princeton, N.J.Google Scholar
  40. Roberts, M., French, K., and Duffy, K. (1984). Breast cancer and breast self-examination: What do Scottish women know?Soc. Sci. Med. 18(9): 791–797.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Ronis, D. L. (1985). Predictors of breast cancer detection behavior. Grant 635301 from the Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
  42. Rosenstock, I. M. (1966). Why people use health services,Memorial Fund Q. 44: 94–121.Google Scholar
  43. Rutledge, D. (1987). Factors related to women's practice of breast self-examination.Nurs. Res. 36: 117–121.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Schlueter, L. (1982). Knowledge and beliefs about breast cancer and breast self-examination among athletic and nonathletic women.Nurs. Res. 31: 348–352.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Sheley, J. (1983). Inadequate transfer of breast cancer self-detection technology.Am. J. Publ. Health 73(11): 1318–1320.Google Scholar
  46. SPSS (1983).SPSSx User's Guide, McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  47. Strecher, V., Devellis, B. M., Becker, M., and Rosenstock, I. (1986). The role of self efficacy in achieving health behavior change.Health Educ. Q. 13(1): 73–91.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Tamburini, M., Massara, G., Bertario, L., Alberto, R., and Putio, S. (1981). Usefulness of breast self-examination for an early detection of breast cancer.Tumori 67: 219–224.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Trotta, P. (1980). Breast self-examination factors influencing compliance.Oncol. Nurs. Forum 7: 13–17.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Tuchfarber, A., and Klecka, W. (1976).Random Digit Dialing: Lowering the Cost Victimization Surveys, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati.Google Scholar
  51. Turnbull, E. (1978). Effect of basic preventive health practices and mass media on the practice of breast self-examination.Nurs. Res. 27(2): 98–102.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoria L. Champion
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community HealthIndiana UniversityIndianapolis

Personalised recommendations