Social support and non-participation in breast cancer screening: a Danish cohort study

J Public Health (Oxf). 2016 Jun;38(2):335-42. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdv051. Epub 2015 Apr 28.


Background: Social support may have an impact on screening participation. We studied the association between social support in 2006, defined as frequencies of contacts, instrumental support and emotional support and participation in breast cancer screening in 2008-09.

Methods: This population-based cohort study included 4512 women who had participated in a Health Survey in 2006 and who also were in the target group for the first round of organized breast cancer screening in the Central Denmark region in 2008-09.

Results: Women with infrequent contacts with friends and family in 2006 were more likely not to participate in screening in 2008-09 [prevalence ratio (PR) 1.69, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.26-2.26, P-value < 0.001 and PR 1.56, 95% CI 1.21-2.20, P-value < 0.001, respectively] as were women who reported not to have someone to look after her home if she was away for some time and women who reported usually not or never having someone to turn to with personal concerns (PR 1.97, 95% CI 1.53-2.54, P-value < 0.001 and PR 1.42, 95% CI 1.14-1.77, P-value = 0.002, respectively).

Conclusions: Low social support, indicated by items in each social support attribute, was associated with non-participation in breast cancer screening in 2008-09. Targeted social interventions may, therefore, have an impact on future screening behaviour, which calls for further research.

Keywords: breast cancer screening; screening participation; social support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark
  • Early Detection of Cancer / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Mammography
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Social Environment
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires