Disability and mammography screening: intangible barriers to participation

Disabil Rehabil. 2011;33(19-20):1755-67. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2010.546935. Epub 2011 Jan 10.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate intangible or non-physical barriers to participation of women with disability in mammography screening.

Method: Women with disability were recruited via specific advocacy and support organisations in New South Wales, Australia. Interviews were conducted which focused on issues relating to participants' experience with breast screening services.

Results: A total of 75 women with varying degrees of disability agreed to participate. Three key intangible barriers were identified related to the women's expectations to be informed, to be involved and to be treated with respect. Details of the content, type, timing of appropriately presented information as well as who should provide it were emphasised. Barriers to active involvement to manage their disability and take control over their experience were identified. The women also indicated the specific treatment they received from screening staff which negatively impacted on their experience.

Conclusions: This study has provided important and clinically significant detail of intangible barriers to participation in screening mammography experienced by women with physical disability. These study outcomes suggest ways in which the satisfaction with the mammogram experience can be increased for these women and contribute to increased participation in mammography screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Disabled Persons / education
  • Disabled Persons / psychology*
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*