Risk perceptions and participation in colorectal cancer screening

Health Psychol. 1990;9(6):792-806. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.9.6.792.


Compared individuals at high versus average risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) with respect to factors they cited as affecting their risk of developing CRC. We also examined the relationship of these risk-factor perceptions to perceived susceptibility and participation in a CRC screening test. All individuals in the high-risk group were informed that, as a sibling of someone with CRC, they were more likely to get this cancer themselves. We found minimal differences among siblings with respect to perceived susceptibility. Further, although high-risk siblings were more likely to participate in screening, only 20.2% cited heredity as a risk-increasing factor, and, among these siblings, there was no relationship between screening participation and the citation of any specific risk factors, including heredity. These findings demonstrate the need for more research examining how high-risk individuals process risk-relevant information and the effect of this information on health behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Disease Susceptibility / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors