A descriptive study of breast cancer worry

J Behav Med. 1998 Dec;21(6):565-79. doi: 10.1023/a:1018748712987.


Women with (n = 65) and without (n = 70) a family history of breast cancer reported on their thoughts and concern about the disease. Measures were taken across a 1-month interval and at a 1-year follow-up. Reported screening behaviors were also measured at baseline and the 1-year follow-up. Worry dissipated over time, suggesting that worry levels are affected by the measurement context. However, women with a family history of the disease maintained greater worry than those without such a history, suggesting that they may be chronically worried about the disease. Thinking and worrying about breast cancer were both modestly and positively related to the frequency of screening behaviors, suggesting that some kinds of worry can motivate self-protective behavior.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Self-Examination / psychology*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / psychology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*