Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 151–160 | Cite as

Early detection of testicular cancer: revisiting the role of self-efficacy in testicular self-examination among young asymptomatic males

  • Kanayo Umeh
  • Rebecca Chadwick


Research suggests that self-efficacy is an important factor in behaviors that facilitate the early-detection of various cancers. In general people with high self-efficacy are more likely to attend cancer screening sessions or perform bodily self-exams. However, there is a paucity of research focusing on testicular cancer and testicular self-examination (TSE). The effect of self-efficacy on TSE remains unclear especially given the relative obscurity of the testicular cancer threat, and appropriate clinical- and self-detection procedures, in the young asymptomatic male population. Thus, the present study tested the interaction of self-efficacy with young men’s appraisals of the threat of testicular cancer. The study was based on 2 × 2 × 2 mixed factorial experimental design. Over 100 young asymptomatic men were exposed to a health warning about testicular cancer and randomly assigned to high/low self-efficacy, vulnerability, and severity conditions. High self-efficacy increased motivation to perform TSE given high vulnerability, but damaged attitudes to self-exams given low vulnerability and severity estimates. High self-efficacy also facilitated subsequent TSE. Overall, these findings support preexisting notions of self-efficacy but raise new questions about the moderating effects of threat appraisals.


Testicular cancer Testicular self-examination Self-efficacy Asymptomatic men 



We would like to thank the associate editor Linda Cameron and three anonymous reviewers for their significant contributions to this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Natural Sciences & PsychologyLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Papworth Hospital NHS TrustCambridgeUK

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