Health screening for early detection of illness is a central issue in health promotion, but adherence to health screening recommendations falls far short of optium levels. The present research sought to identify individual difference factors that are associated with health screening behavior. A total of 252 asymptomatic individuals were invited to participate in one of four screening programs: a dental checkup, blood pressure measurement and cholesterol testing, pap smear, or mammography, and to participate in a study requiring the completion of questionnaires. 137 (54%) of those invited attended a screening session and 115 (46%) did not attend. Factors to explain health screening behavior were derived from the health belief model (Becker, 1974) and included susceptibility, severity, benefits, and barriers beliefs, and from self-regulation theory (Leventhal, 1970), including danger control and fear control motivation. Both cognitive (e.g. health beliefs) and emotional (e.g. reassurance) factors were found to explain health screening participation. Each theoretical model investigated contributed significantly to explaining health screening behavior, and they cumulatively explained 30% - 69% of the variance in attendance. Finally, the study showed that health screening behavior is highly specific, each screening program characterized by a particular set of beliefs and its own set of predictor variables. Theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was partially supported by a grant from the Committee for Research and Prevention in Occupational Safety and Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, State of Israel.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health