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Use of the Persuasive Health Message framework in the development of a community-based mammography promotion campaign

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An Erratum to this article was published on 30 April 2015



We describe how the Persuasive Health Message (PHM) framework was used to guide the formative evaluation informing development of messages and materials used in a community-based multi-media campaign intended to motivate low-income African American women to obtain low- or no-cost mammograms through the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.


Seventy-eight African American women were recruited for eight focus groups that discussed breast cancer screening. The moderator guide was developed in accordance with the PHM framework and solicited information on perceived threat and efficacy, cues, salient beliefs and referents, and barriers to self-efficacy.


We created persuasive messages to emphasize that African American women are susceptible to the threat of breast cancer, but that their personal action in obtaining regular mammograms may lead to early detection, subsequent treatment, and reduced cancer mortality. The messages addressed concerns of self-efficacy by emphasizing that uninsured women can also obtain high-quality low- or no-cost mammograms. In an attempt to combat the sentiment that breast cancer is a death sentence, the messages indicated that breast cancer can be successfully treated, especially when detected early.


The PHM framework consists of three steps: (1) determine information about threat and efficacy; (2) develop an audience profile; and (3) construct a persuasive message. It offered our team easy-to-follow, flexible steps to create a persuasive and effective campaign promoting awareness and use of mammogram screening among low-income African American women.

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Correspondence to Ingrid J. Hall.

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The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Hall, I.J., Johnson-Turbes, A. Use of the Persuasive Health Message framework in the development of a community-based mammography promotion campaign. Cancer Causes Control 26, 775–784 (2015).

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