The Effect of Breast Cancer Screening Messages on Knowledge, Attitudes, Perceived Risk, and Mammography Screening of African American Women in the Rural South

Cecelia Gatson Grindel

Larry Brown

Lee Caplan

Daniel Blumenthal

ONF 2004, 31(4), 801-808. DOI: 10.1188/04.ONF.801-808

Purpose/Objectives: To determine the effect of three types of breast cancer screening messages (positive/upbeat, neutral/cognitive, and negative/fear) on knowledge, attitudes, perceived risk for breast cancer, and mammography screening of African American women.

Design: Repeated measures intervention.

Setting: Three rural counties in the South.

Sample: 450 African American women aged 45-65 who had not received a mammogram in the past 12 months.

Methods: Following completion of pretest knowledge and attitude surveys, the women participated in a 60-minute breast health intervention session that included watching one of three videos with varied affective tones (positive/upbeat, neutral/cognitive, negative/fear). Data on knowledge, attitudes, perceived risk for breast cancer, and mammography screening were collected before, after, and 12 months following the intervention.

Main Research Variables: Knowledge, attitudes, perceived risk for breast cancer, and mammography screening.

Findings: No significant difference was found among video groups on mammography screening and knowledge of and attitudes about breast cancer over the three measurement periods.

Conclusions: The affective tone of the educational videos did not make a difference in mammogram screening, attitudes, and knowledge of breast cancer screening. More women received a mammogram 12 months postintervention than prior to the intervention; however, the influence of the intervention on this outcome is uncertain.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses and health communication experts should design interventions that foster positive attitudes, increase knowledge about breast cancer screening, and stimulate women to participate in breast cancer screening as outlined by the American Cancer Society. These interventions need to be done in the context of the cultural norms and the education levels of the target population.

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