DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The objective this proposal is to define perceived risk and personality factors that influence the incorporation of knowledge designed to assist women in assessing their individual risk of developing breast cancer, and how those factors impact their use of breast cancer screening (mammography, clinical breast exam, breast self-exam). Evidence suggests that individualized risk assessment may significantly increase adherence to screening for women at high-risk. However, exactly how the influence of monitoring attentional style to threatening health information influences that effectiveness is unclear. It is likely that personality characteristics such as differentiation of self and monitoring style, at least in part, dictate the extent to which women will respond to information concerning health risks. While communicating health messages about breast cancer risk is important, we also need to find ways of communicating messages that women can actually use to make decisions about screening, rather than being too frightened to pursue screening or believing their risk is so low they do not need to perform screening. We propose three specific aims: 1) Determine the role that monitoring style and differentiation play in the change in knowledge of breast cancer risk after an educational session; 2) Determine the role that differentiation and monitoring style play in the decision to have a personalized risk assessment via computer after an education session; 3) Determine the role that differentiation and monitoring style play in the follow-through for breast cancer screening after an educational session and individualized risk assessment. Our sample subjects will consist of 144 women 39 years of age and older, at varying levels of risk, who choose to participate in a free breast cancer education session provided through Health and Wellness organizations and local churches. African American women will be overrepresented due to the focus on providing these education sessions through African American churches in the Columbus, Ohio community. Participants will complete a pre and post questionnaire about their knowledge of breast cancer, perceived risk, actual risk, screening history, monitoring style, and differentiation of self. Then they will be offered the choice of having an individualized risk assessment on site. Four follow-ups over the next year will assess screening intent and use as well as other questions to check for the stability of both monitoring style and differentiation of self. The data from this project will provide new information about the effectiveness of individualized risk assessment for women at varying levels of risk and with different types of personality styles in adhering to screening recommendations. As more women adhere to screening recommendations, breast cancer can be detected at earlier stages, which is the best avenue for treatment success.
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