Attributions of responsibility and persuasion: increasing mammography utilization among women over 40 with an internally oriented message

Health Psychol. 1993 Jan;12(1):39-47. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.12.1.39.


One hundred ninety-seven women over 40 years old and not adhering to national guidelines for screening mammography viewed persuasive messages varying in attributional emphasis (internal, external, or information-only). Internal attributions of responsibility for health-promoting behavior were expected to motivate the greatest change in women's attitudes and behaviors in relation to breast cancer and mammography. Attitudes about breast cancer and mammography were measured immediately and 6 months after the presentation. Twelve months later, women who viewed the internal message were more likely to have obtained a screening mammogram than women assigned to the other 2 conditions. The attributions of responsibility encouraged by the persuasive messages were associated with whether viewing the presentation led to behavior change.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Mammography / psychology*
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Persuasive Communication*