Intergenerational family communication about mammography



Publication Details

Browne, J. L. & Chan, A. YC. (2007). Intergenerational family communication about mammography. In M. Albion & P. Collins (Eds.), Education, Employment and Everything: The Triple Layers of a Woman's Life: Refereed Proceedings of the International Women's Conference (pp. 55-59). Toowoomba, QLD: USQ Women's Network Inc.


In Australia, almost 50% of target women (aged between 50-69 years) do not adhere to the breast screening guidelines that make early detection possible. This study explores the efficacy of everyday family communication as a mode of mammography promotion to target women. Upward communication (communication from the younger generations up to the older generations) was the focus of this study. Young women (mean age = 21;05, N = 60) participated in a two-stage questionnaire study. During Stage One they reported their family history of breast cancer and any previous conversations they had with an older female family member about mammography. Intention to engage in a future conversation about mammography with a female relative was measured, and participants were encouraged to initiate such a conversation in the future. At Stage Two, participants reported whether or not they had initiated a conversation, and their perceived outcome of the conversation. Although initial intention scores were high, only 35% initiated a conversation. Intention was the only independent variable that significantly predicted behaviour. However, intentions best predicted the behaviour of those that failed to initiate a conversation. Perceived outcomes of the conversation included the female relative being more likely to have a mammogram, and the participant being more likely to seek further information about mammography. These results suggest that intergenerational family communication about mammography is a viable promotion tool, but young women may require additional support to convert intention into behaviour.

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International Women's Conference

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