Participation in fecal occult blood screening: a critical review

Prev Med. 1987 Jan;16(1):9-18. doi: 10.1016/0091-7435(87)90002-8.


The factors that influence participation in fecal occult blood screening for colorectal cancer are poorly understood. A better understanding of these factors could lead to better screening products or to educational approaches to increase participation with currently available products. In this article, we review findings from studies that have examined the determinants of participation in fecal occult blood screening. Two components of participation are identified: initial agreement to participate and subsequent compliance with the testing procedures. We conclude that the factors that lead to agreement often differ from those that lead to compliance. Following the literature review, we discuss ways in which recent advances in attitude and behavior research might be used to improve future investigations of the determinants of participation in fecal occult blood screening. Specifically, this research suggests that investigators should focus on beliefs and attitudes associated with the perceived consequences of screening participation rather than on other types of beliefs and attitudes; measure beliefs and attitudes at the same level of specificity as behavior; and distinguish between individuals' initial agreement to participate in screening and their actual participation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Community Participation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Compliance
  • Sex Factors