Women's cognitive and affective reactions to breast cancer survivor stories: a structural equation analysis

Patient Educ Couns. 2010 Dec:81 Suppl:S15-21. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.08.015. Epub 2010 Sep 17.


Objective: Compare the immediate affective and cognitive reactions to cancer survivor stories about mammography and breast cancer vs. a didactic, informational approach.

Methods: Participants (N=489) were African American women age 40 years and older (mean=61). Most had ≤high school education (67%), annual household income ≤$20,000 (77%), and a prior mammogram (89%). Participants completed surveys before and after watching the narrative or informational video. We used structural equation modeling to examine the large number of inter-related latent constructs.

Results: Women who watched the narrative video experienced more positive and negative emotions, found it easier to understand the video, had more positive evaluations of the video, reported stronger identification with the message source (i.e., perceived similarity, trust, liking), and were more engaged with the video.

Conclusion: Narratives elicited immediate reactions consistent with theorized pathways of how communication affects behavior. Future studies should examine whether and how these immediate outcomes act as mediators of the longer term effects of narratives on affect, cognitions, and behavior.

Practice implications: Stories of other women's experiences may be more powerful than a didactic presentation when encouraging African American women to get a mammogram.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Black or African American / psychology
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Health Communication / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mammography / psychology*
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Narration
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Survivors
  • Video Recording
  • Women / psychology*