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The effects of information, behavioral rehearsal, and prompting on breast self-exams

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This study evaluated the efficacy of three approaches to increasing breast self-exam frequency in college-aged women. Program components included (1) an educational format which provided informationon breast cancer and breast self-examinations, (2) a demonstrationformat where examinations were demonstrated and practiced, and (3) a promptformat where subjects received monthly reminders to self-examine. Components were completely crossed in a factorial design with four assessment periods (pretreatment and 1, 3, and 6 months posttreatment). The results showed that the examination frequency increased over time and was significantly higher in the prompt conditions. Information and demonstration programs did not increase the exam frequency. The frequency also increased in the control group, suggesting that assessments may have also prompted the behavior. Implications of the results are discussed.

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Author information

Correspondence to Jerry L. Deffenbacher.

Additional information

This article is based on the first author's dissertation, which was supervised by the second author and submitted to Colorado State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the doctoral degree. The authors wish to thank the members of the dissertation committee, Larry Bloom, William Boyer, Ruth Rumley, and Robert Titley.

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Craun, A.M., Deffenbacher, J.L. The effects of information, behavioral rehearsal, and prompting on breast self-exams. J Behav Med 10, 351–365 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00846475

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Key words

  • behavioral rehearsal
  • breast self-examination
  • cancer
  • information
  • prompting