Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 193–200 | Cite as

The relationship between social network characteristics and breast cancer screening practices among employed women

  • Jennifer Dacey Allen
  • Glorian Sorensen
  • Anne M. Stoddard
  • Karen E. Peterson
  • Graham Colditz

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between social network characteristics and breast cancer screening practices among employed women. We hypothesized that larger social networks, higher levels of support from networks, and stronger social influences to undergo screening would be positively associated with regular utilization of mammograms and clinical breast examinations. Data were collected from women aged 52 and over who were employed in 27 worksites (N=1,045). Social network characteristics, breast cancer screening practices, and sociodemographic factors were assessed in a self-administered survey. Bivariate analyses revealed that social influences were significantly associated with regular screening; social support was only marginally associated with regular screening; and social network size was not at all associated. In multivariate analyses, only the perception that screening is normative among one’s peers was predictive of regular screening. Provider recommendation was the single most potent predictor of regular screening. These findings provide support for the importance of social norms in motivating women to adhere to screening guidelines. In addition, they underscore the potent impact of provider recommendations on women’s screening practices.

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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Dacey Allen
    • 1
  • Glorian Sorensen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anne M. Stoddard
    • 3
  • Karen E. Peterson
    • 2
  • Graham Colditz
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for Community-Based ResearchDana-Farber Cancer InstituteBoston
  2. 2.Harvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.University of Massachusetts School of Public HealthUSA
  4. 4.Channing LaboratoryBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  5. 5.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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