Health behavior change models and their socio-cultural relevance for breast cancer screening in African American women

Women Health. 1999;28(4):53-71. doi: 10.1300/J013v28n04_04.


Models of health behavior provide the conceptual bases for most of the breast cancer screening intervention studies. These models were not designed for and have not been adequately tested with African American women. The models discussed in this paper are: The Health Belief Model, the Theory of Reasoned Action/Theory of Planned Behavior, and the Transtheoretical Model. This paper will examine the socio-cultural relevance of these health behavior models, and discuss specific socio-cultural dimensions that are not accounted for by these paradigms. It is critical that researchers include socio-cultural dimensions, such as interconnectedness, health socialization, ecological factors and health care system factors into their intervention models with African American women. Comprehensive and socio-culturally based investigations are necessary to guide the scientific and policy challenge for reducing breast cancer mortality in African American women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Models, Psychological
  • United States