In two minds about screening: an investigation of cervical cancer prevention among Irish women

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Kotzur, Marie-Christin
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University College Cork
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Cervical cancer is the second most common female cancer worldwide. Cervical screening programmes can reduce the incidence of cervical cancer by up to 80 percent if the invited women participate. Previous Irish research has associated screening attendance with subjective norms, anticipated regret, higher socio-economic status and education. Greater perceived screening barriers and lacking knowledge were associated with avoidance. These findings support a variety of expectancy-value theories of behaviour. They also suggest that expectancy-value theories could benefit from the inclusion of affective predictors of behaviour, like anticipated regret. In 2008 the Republic of Ireland introduced the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP). This research seeks to identify the predictors of participation in the NCSP. A systematic review of reviews showed that predictors of screening participation clustered into environmental and psychological influences. There is a gap in the evidence synthesis of associations with personal characteristics and health beliefs. Thematic analysis of focus group interviews confirmed the validity of many screening predictors identified by the systematic review and expectancy-value theories. A survey of these predictors suggested that reduced screening barriers might encourage first-time participation, while regular attendance requires greater endorsement of screening benefits and stronger subjective norm and intention. Positive attitude, rather than knowledge, appeared to be crucial for strong intention, so the final study piloted an experiment comparing the utility of positive attitude in strengthening intention to the utility of information provision. Despite lacking significant differences between conditions, content analysis of participant comments suggested that a full trial would be worthwhile, given purposive sampling and improved sample retention. These findings agree with previous Irish research on the importance of screening intention, although its association with attitude appeared to be stronger in the present research. The findings further indicate that future screening promotion should consider interventions based on patients’ experiences of screening.
Health Belief Model , Cervical cancer , Screening , Smear test , Attitude , Theory of planned behaviour , Dual-process model
Kotzur, M. C. 2016. In two minds about screening: an investigation of cervical cancer prevention among Irish women. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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