Objectives: This study investigated the association between physician recommendation for mammography and race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other characteristics in a rural population.
Methods: In 1993 through 1994, we surveyed 1933 Black women and White women 52 years and older in 10 rural counties.
Results: Fifty-three percent of the women reported a physician recommendation in the past year. White women reported recommendations significantly more often than did Black women (55% vs 45%; odds ratio = 1.49). Controlling for educational attainment and income eliminated the apparent racial/ethnic difference. After control for 5 personal, 4 health, and 3 access characteristics, recommendation for mammography was found to be more frequent among women who had access to the health care system (i.e., had a regular physician and health insurance). Recommendation was less frequent among women who were vulnerable (i.e., were older, had lower educational attainment, had lower annual family income).
Conclusions: Socioeconomic status, age, and other characteristics--but not race/ethnicity--were related to reports of a physician recommendation, a precursor strongly associated with mammography use. Efforts to increase physician recommendation should include complementary efforts to help women address socioeconomic and other barriers to mammography use.