Responses to procedural information about colorectal cancer screening using faecal occult blood testing: the role of consideration of future consequences

Health Expect. 2012 Jun;15(2):176-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1369-7625.2011.00675.x. Epub 2011 Apr 19.


Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening participation is low despite its effectiveness in reducing CRC mortality. Identifying benefits and barriers requires consideration of specific characteristics of screening modalities. AIMS AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS: To monitor the impact of providing information about CRC screening via faecal occult blood testing (FOBt) on intentions to participate. To investigate moderation by individual differences in consideration of future consequences (CFC).

Design, setting and participants: A total of 211 healthy adults (aged 45-59) with no experience of CRC screening were presented with eight consecutive statements about FOBt-based screening in a web survey. Participants completed measures of i) intention (after each statement), ii) CFC and iii) the importance of screening practicalities (e.g. unpleasantness of completing the test) and benefits (e.g. early detection of cancer).

Results: An 8 (information)×2 (CFC) mixed ancova showed that intentions varied across the eight statements. (P<0.001): increasing after information about FOBt being completed at home (P<0.001) before subsequently decreasing after information about the requirement to collect faecal samples (P<0.001) in a plastic tub (P<0.01) on three occasions (P<0.01) with the low CFC group generally being less inclined to complete the test (P<0.01). Two between-group anovas demonstrated that the low CFC group attributed greater importance to practicalities of screening than the high CFC group while the opposite was found for the importance of benefits (both P's<0.001).

Conclusion: Deconstructing FOBt-based screening pointed to specific benefits and barriers which can advance research into public preferences of screening and educational materials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Consumer Health Information
  • Early Detection of Cancer / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Participation / psychology