Specific worry about breast cancer predicts mammography use in women at risk for breast and ovarian cancer

Health Psychol. 1999 Sep;18(5):532-6. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.18.5.532.


This longitudinal study examined predictors of mammography use among women with a family history of breast cancer participating in a risk assessment and surveillance program (N = 213). Assessed were background variables (age, prior mammography utilization), cognitive variables (perceived vulnerability), and affective variables (cancer worry and general distress). Results of logistic regression analyses predicting adherence 1 year after baseline contact, in which variables of prior utilization, feelings of vulnerability, and general distress were controlled for, indicated that cancer worry and age were significant predictors of mammography adherence. Results suggest that moderate levels of cancer worry facilitate, rather than undermine, adherence. The results have implications for the construction of educational messages that should be designed to acknowledge feelings of cancer-specific worry and to provide guidance in health protective behaviors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mammography / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires