WASHINGTONIn motivating women to get timely mammograms, discussions
tailored to individuals’ particular reasons for not getting mammograms are
far more effective than general recommendations, said Diane Ruth Lauver, PhD,
RN, professor of women’s health, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Speaking
at the American Psychological Association Conference on Enhancing Outcomes in
Women’s Health, she reported on a study of motivational messages given to 797
Midwestern women, age 51 to 80, who had not had a mammogram in the past 13
A third of the subjects, the control group, received no discussions about
mammograms. A second third received telephone calls from advanced practice
nurses who offered a standard message about recommendations for mammography.
For the last third, the nurses’ calls included both standard recommendations
and tailored discussions about the woman’s beliefs, feelings, and external
barriers regarding mammography.
The nurses "tailored" the messages, by assessing each woman’s beliefs and
feelings about mammography, and any external barriers to getting a
mammogramsuch as lack of affordability or accessibilityand then using a
"message library" of relevant points. If, for example, a woman stated that
she didn’t need a mammogram because she had no symptoms of breast cancer, the
nurse would reply that having no breast problems was excellent, but that
"mammograms are most useful in finding a problem, if it is there, before
either the woman or the doctor could see or feel it."
The standard and the tailored messages were about equally effective in
motivating women to get screening in the short term3 months following the
callsand both worked better than no message.
But a year later, more of the women who received the tailored message had
gotten a second mammogram than had the women in the other groups.