Monitoring styles in women at risk for cervical cancer: Implications for the framing of health-relevant messages

  • Suzanne M. Miller
  • Joanne S. Buzaglo
  • Samantha L. Simms
  • Victoria Green
  • Christina Bales
  • Charles E. Mangan
  • Thomas V. Sedlacek


We explored the interaction effects of individual attentional style (high versus low monitoring) and the framing of informational messages on the responses of women undergoing diagnostic follow-up (colposcopy) for precancerous cervical lesions. Prior to the colposcopic procedure, patients (N=76) were randomly assigned to one of three preparatory conditions: (a) Loss-framed message, which emphasized the cost of nonadherence to screening recommendations; (b) Gain-framed message, which emphasized the benefit of adherence; and (c) Neutrally-framed message. It was hypothesized that low monitors (who are more positively biased about their health) would show a more adaptive pattern of response to loss-framed information than high monitors (who are more negatively biased about their health). The results of a series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses were consistent with this prediction. Low monitoring was associated with greater knowledge retention (β=.61, p<.05) and less canceling/rescheduling of follow-up appointments in the loss condition than in the neutral condition (β=.82, p<.002). High monitoring, however, was associated with greater intrusive ideation when information was presented in the loss-oriented frame as compared to the neutral frame (β=.99, p<.01). Knowledge retention and screening adherence were not affected by the framing manipulation. The differences between high versus low monitors as a function of loss or neutral frame suggest an interaction effect, wherein both the type of framing message and the individual's attentional style lead to distinctive cognitive-affective and behavioral patterns. The findings may have clinical implications for the tailoring of health messages to the individual's signature style.


Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Coping Style Behavioral Medicine Knowledge Retention Gynecologic Condition 


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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne M. Miller
    • 1
  • Joanne S. Buzaglo
    • 1
  • Samantha L. Simms
    • 1
  • Victoria Green
    • 1
  • Christina Bales
    • 1
  • Charles E. Mangan
    • 2
  • Thomas V. Sedlacek
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychosocial and Behavioral Medicine ProgramFox Chase Cancer CenterCheltenham
  2. 2.Riva-Mangan AssociatesPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Graduate HospitalPhiladelphiaUSA

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