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Why do women's attitudes toward mammography change over time? Implications for physician-patient communication.

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  • 1Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.

Abstract

The present study examines women's decision making about mammography over a 1-year period, using "decisional balance," a summary of women's positive and negative perceptions about mammography derived from the Transtheoretical Model (TTM). Data were from a survey of women ages 50-74 years who completed both the baseline and 1-year follow-up telephone surveys (n = 1144) for an intervention study to increase the use of mammography screening. A shift toward less favorable perceptions about mammography was related to being a smoker and not having a recent clinical breast examination and Pap test. Change in women's attitudes toward mammography was also related to four dimensions of a woman's information environment. Women who rated the opinions of a physician as somewhat or not important, those who reported that at least one family member or friend discouraged them from having a mammogram, and women who felt they lacked enough people in their social network with whom they could discuss health concerns were less likely to express favorable attitudes about mammography over 1 year. In contrast, women who consistently communicated the value of mammography to others expressed more favorable views of screening over the study period. Interventions designed to promote breast cancer screening must recognize that a woman not only reacts to mammography information provided by significant others in her social network but may proactively reach out to others as an advocate of breast cancer screening, thus reinforcing or changing others' opinions or behavior as well as her own.

PMID:
9184780
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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