The role of physician recommendation in women's mammography use: is it a 2-stage process?

Med Care. 2000 Apr;38(4):392-403. doi: 10.1097/00005650-200004000-00006.


Objective: To explore the use of a 2-stage model in explaining the role of physician recommendation in women's use of mammography screening and to provide an integrated framework for understanding the mammography-use process.

Methods: Data on 1,301 women aged > or =52 years from the North Carolina Breast Cancer Screening Program (NC-BCSP) questionnaire were combined with information from 91 of their physicians from the North Carolina Medical Board. A 2-stage system of equations using women's characteristics (demographic, health, access), physicians' characteristics (demographic, practice), women's beliefs, and women's report of a physician recommendation was created and statistically tested. The model was estimated using 2-stage logistic and probit estimation.

Results: The 2-stage approach produced different results compared with the single pooled model. In the second-stage mammography-use model, younger age, family history of breast cancer, and a woman's having ever requested a mammogram retained significance (P < or = 0.05) in addition to the predicted value of physician recommendation obtained from the first stage. Women's characteristics significantly associated with physician recommendation in the first stage included some access, health risk, and demographic variables as well as physician age and race (P < or = 0.05).

Conclusions: A 2-stage model for estimating mammography use among women with regular physicians may be more informative than a single model. These results imply that programs designed to increase mammography rates should focus on ensuring appropriate physician recommendations in addition to encouraging women to request screening. Future research should consider using an integrated framework for evaluating utilization of mammography and other preventive services.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography* / statistics & numerical data
  • Mass Screening* / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • North Carolina
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors