Loss-framed minimal intervention increases mammography use


      Although mammography is the most effective early detection breast cancer screening technology available, it is underutilized. This study was conducted to test the effectiveness of a loss-framed minimal intervention to increase mammography use. Loss-frame refers to a communication strategy in which messages are framed from the perspective of what a person has to lose by not taking a particular behavioral action.


      Participants were medically un- and underinsured women 50–64 years old who called one of two urban clinics randomly selected based on demographic statistical equivalency. The women who participated telephoned to inquire about a mammogram during the 6-month study period. The group randomly designated as the experimental group received a loss-framed message conveyed by trained staff telephonically. Members of the comparison group received the “usual” communication, also conveyed telephonically. In the experimental group, 31 of 112 (27%) women who inquired received mammograms, whereas 157 of the 992 (16%) comparison group women who inquired received mammograms.


      The odds of a mammogram, adjusted for race and breast cancer symptoms, significantly increased for the experimental (odds ratio [OR] = 1.914, χ2 = 7.48, p = .0063, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.20–3.05) versus comparison group.


      A loss-framed, in-reach, minimal intervention approach holds promise as a mammography promotion strategy.
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      Doris A. Abood, EdD, CHES, is an associate professor of Health Education/Health Promotion in the Department of Nutrition, Food & Exercise Sciences at Florida State University.


      David R. Black, PhD, MPH, HSPP, CHES, CPPE, FASHA, FSBM, FAAHB is professor of Health Promotion and adjunct professor of Health Sciences Foods and Nutrition and Nursing at Purdue University.


      Daniel C. Coster, PhD, is Associate Professor of Statistics and Assistant Department Head in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Utah State University.