Effect of media coverage and physician advice on utilization of breast cancer screening by women 40 years and older

J Health Commun. 2000 Apr-Jun;5(2):117-34. doi: 10.1080/108107300406857.


The purpose of this study is to examine the relative importance of media coverage and physician advice on the decision of women 40 years and older to obtain a mammogram. Five theoretical models, by which media coverage and physician advice may interact to affect individual health behavior, are presented. These models are tested with time-series regression analysis based on national-level data on mammography utilization and physician advice from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and content analysis of mammography-related national news coverage. Results suggest that although physician advice plays a key role in women's decisions to have mammograms, media coverage of mammography screening also contributes to mammography utilization by women. In particular, media coverage seems to be important for women who do not have regular contact with a physician or access to physicians. A possible conclusion is that mass media and physician advice complement one another in persuading individuals to adopt preventive health behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Communication
  • Counseling
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mass Media*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*