Family history of breast cancer, health beliefs and knowledge in the practice of breast self-examination

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

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Interim status: Citation only.

Stephan, Jennifer & Hicks, Richard (2008). Family history of breast cancer, health beliefs and knowledge in the practice of breast self-examination. 43rd Australian Psychological Society's (APS) Annual Conference, Hobart, Tasmania. 288-292. ISBN:9780909881368

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2008 HERDC submission. FoR: 1701

© Copyright Jennifer Stephan and Richard Hicks, 2008


The present study investigated the relationship between frequency of breast self-examination (BSE), family history of breast cancer and health beliefs in Australian women comparing both low risk (years) and high risk women (>45 years). The sample was divided into two equal groups of 131 participants (low risk and high risk). Self report questionnaires administered were part of a larger study and included a bio-data and general information questionnaire on breast self-examination, and the Health Belief Model Scale (HBMS). The results revealed that family history of breast cancer, knowledge of BSE procedures and of breast cancer, and three health beliefs (barriers, confidence and motivation) predicted the practice or performance of BSE. Women in the high risk group (older age group) practiced BSE significantly more than did women in the low risk group. An earlier analysis suggested that frequency of BSE is also associated with lower mental health (depression and anxiety tended to be higher among those practicing BSE). Further studies are needed to separate age, other demographics, and mental health issues in the practice of BSE.

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