Measuring physician readiness to change cancer screening: preliminary results

Am J Prev Med. 1995 Jan-Feb;11(1):54-8.


Our objective was to describe the development and validation of an instrument for measuring physician readiness to change cancer screening and counseling. We designed a cross-sectional survey of primary care physicians. Participants were 745 enrollees in the Copic Insurance Company, a physician liability insurer of more than 80% of Colorado's physicians. A large percentage of physicians do not perceive a need to change their screening patterns for eligible patients in both mammography and Pap tests. Approximately one third of the physicians are contemplating screening more of their patients within the next six months for sigmoidoscopy, clinical skin, and oral cavity exams and counseling more of their patients on skin protection and dietary fat. Few physicians are planning significant changes in cancer screening and counseling within the next month. Scales of readiness to change screening and counseling, as well as an overall readiness-to-change scale, had high internal consistency: .81, .65, .84, for screening, counseling, and overall, respectively. We conclude that readiness to change may be a useful construct for determining if and when physicians may be willing to make behavior changes. Moreover, the assessment of physician readiness to change may facilitate the tailoring of interventions designed to foster physician behavior change and improve patient care.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Colorado
  • Counseling
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mammography
  • Mass Screening*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vaginal Smears