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Health Psychol. 1996 Mar;15(2):75-83.

A randomized trial of breast cancer risk counseling: interacting effects of counseling, educational level, and coping style.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007-4104, USA.


The authors evaluated the impact of individualized breast cancer risk counseling (BCRC) on breast-cancer-specific distress and general distress in 239 women with a family history of breast cancer. Following a baseline assessment of demographics, risk factors, coping styles, and distress, participants were assigned randomly to receive either BCRC or general health education (GHE; i.e., control group). After controlling for education level, women who received BCRC had significantly less breast-cancer-specific distress at 3-month follow-up compared with women who received GHE. A significant Education Level x Treatment Group interaction indicated that the psychological benefits of BCRC were greater for women with less formal education. In both the BCRC and GHE groups, participants who had monitoring coping styles exhibited increases in general distress from baseline to follow-up.

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