International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 572–581 | Cite as

Exploring the Validity of the Continuum of Resistance Model for Discriminating Early from Late and Non-uptake of Colorectal Cancer Screening: Implications for the Design of Invitation and Reminder Letters

  • Tess Gregory
  • Stephen R. Cole
  • Carlene J. Wilson
  • Ingrid H. FlightEmail author
  • Ian T. Zajac
  • Deborah Turnbull
  • Graeme P. Young



The continuum of resistance model contends that respondents lie at one end of a continuum and non-respondents at the other with respect to factors demonstrated to impact on screening participation.


The aim of this study was to explore the validity of this model for the prediction of participation in colorectal cancer screening.


People aged 50 to 74 years were asked to complete a survey (n = 1,250). Eligible respondents (n = 376, 30 %) were invited to complete a faecal occult blood test (FOBT). The cutoff period for the determination of participation rates was 12 weeks, with a reminder sent at 6 weeks.


FOBTs were returned by n = 196 people (132 within 6 weeks, 64 following a reminder). Participation was generally influenced by the same variables in both the first 6 weeks and the second 6 weeks, consistent with the continuum of resistance model. These variables were having known someone with bowel cancer and the social cognitive factor, perceptions of barriers to screening. There is a suggestion, however, that other factors may be differentially associated with early, late and non-participants.


Participation in screening appears somewhat consistent with the continuum of resistance model in that early and late participants respond to some of the same factors. This suggests that the same messages are relevant to early, late and non-screeners, but further consideration of what other factors may be influencing discrete stages of readiness to participate is necessary.


Colorectal cancer Screening Intention Health belief model Social cognition Social ecological models 


Grant Support

This work was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Grant number 324717.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tess Gregory
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephen R. Cole
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Carlene J. Wilson
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
    • 6
  • Ingrid H. Flight
    • 5
    Email author
  • Ian T. Zajac
    • 5
  • Deborah Turnbull
    • 1
  • Graeme P. Young
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Flinders Clinical and Molecular MedicineFlinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia
  3. 3.Flinders Centre for Cancer Prevention and ControlFlinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia
  4. 4.Bowel Health ServiceRepatriation General HospitalDaw ParkAustralia
  5. 5.CSIRO Preventative Health Research FlagshipAdelaideAustralia
  6. 6.Cancer Council South AustraliaEastwoodAustralia

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