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This study investigated breast self-examination (BSE) frequency and quality and determinants of BSE practice in two samples of women: (a) women of childbearing age who were of lower income and lower education and (b) women of childbearing age who were of higher income and higher education. Mothers recruited from a pediatric practice completed a questionnaire addressing BSE frequency and quality and factors derived from the Health Belief Model that might influence performance. Results indicated that there were no differences in mean BSE frequency or quality between the two samples. Regression analyses revealed that the perceived barriers index, consisting of forgetting, exclusive reliance on medical personnel for breast exams, and low confidence in ability to perform BSE, was the single best predictor of BSE frequency, accounting for 67% of the variance in each sample of women. When quality of BSE was examined, knowledge of BSE was the best predictor.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of behavioral medicine

Publication Date





359 - 371


Department of Psychology, University of Vermont, Burlington 05405.


Breast, Humans, Breast Neoplasms, Self-Examination, Risk Factors, Attitude to Health, Individuality, Socioeconomic Factors, Adult, Educational Status, Female