The gradient in mammography screening behavior: A lifestyle marker

Lea Hagoel, Liora Ore, Efrat Neter, Galia Shifroni, Gad Rennert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study reports a gradient in adhering to a recommended health behavior-mammography screening. Data were collected on 951 Israeli women, aged 50-74, who were mailed an invitation to a prescheduled mammography screening appointment and were later phone interviewed about their background, their other health behaviors and their health perceptions related to cancer, mammography and self-rated health. The main finding that emerged was a gradient consisting of three groups defined by their adherence to mammography screening: women who declined the invitation to undergo screening (nonattenders, 32%), women who attended a screening upon encouragement (attenders, 45%) and women who initiated the test on their own (self- screenees, 23%). This gradient was shown to be related to structural/background variables (e.g. SES, age, education, ethnicity), other health behaviors and perceptual variables related to health in general and to cancer. For example, self-screenees were of a higher SES, engaged in more health behaviors and were closer to other women who performed a mammography. An analysis carried out to discern where the difference between the three groups lied showed that it was more apparent between the self-screenees and attenders, and that the attenders and nonattenders were more similar to each other. These findings are discussed in terms of health behavior as a discrete phenomenon vs. reflecting a lifestyle. Suggestions for intervention possibilities are presented in light of the finer ranking proposed above (as opposed to the dichotomy of engaging/not engaging in a health behavior).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1281-1290
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Ms. Idit Lavi and to Ms. Zmira Silman for their help in the final stages of data management. This study was funded by a research grant from the Israel Cancer Association.


  • Health behavior
  • Israel
  • Lifestyle
  • Mammography
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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