The effect of physician-patient communication on mammography utilization by different ethnic groups

Med Care. 1991 Nov;29(11):1065-82. doi: 10.1097/00005650-199111000-00001.


The differential utilization of screening mammography by racial/ethnic groups was examined through 35-minute bilingual, random digit dialed telephone interviews with 1,057 women over age 35 years. Results showed that 71% of hispanic women had never had a mammogram and that only 27% over age 50 years had had one in the year before the survey. White and black women over the age of 50 years were being screened more frequently with 34% of white women and 36% of black women having had a mammogram in the prior year. More than half of the hispanic women over age 50 years had never had a mammogram. Analyses showed that the most important variable that predicted whether women of all racial groups had a mammogram, at any time or within the last year, was whether their doctors had discussed mammography with them. The discussion did not need to be lengthy or complex. Hispanic women, however, were less likely to have physicians who discussed screening with them even though these women reported that they were just as motivated as other women to get a mammogram if their doctor referred them. Suggestions for what primary care physicians can do to increase mammography rates, especially among hispanic women, are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • California
  • Communication*
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology*
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mexican Americans / psychology
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Physician's Role
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Referral and Consultation