Online Program

Persuasive cancer screening messaging: Adolescent girls as health advocates

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Maghboeba Mosavel, Ph.D., Department of Social and Behavioral Health, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine, Richmond, VA
Ellyn Leighton-Herrmann, M.A., Department of Social and Behavioral Health, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine, Richmond, VA
Disproportionately more African American women continue to die from cervical, breast and colon cancers in comparison to White women; prompting the need for a culturally relevant intervention to encourage regular screening.

We developed an intervention that focused on adolescent girls to help persuade their female kin to obtain screening. The Elaboration Likelihood Model and the Theory of Planned Behavior guided the intervention design. The pilot study assessed feasibility and consisted of an interactive workshop that provided girls (n=22) with tailored cancer screening recommendations for their mother or relative. Control group girls (n=14) were provided a pamphlet with information about cancer screening guidelines for the three types of cancer and how to encourage their female relative to get screened. They were not specifically asked to share the pamphlet or information with their relative. We followed up with the 36 (N=72) dyads about 6 months later.

About 64% (n=9) of the control adolescents reported sharing the pamphlet or information with their relative. Approximately 87% (n=19) of the intervention adolescents reported sharing their screening message. Based on the adolescents' motivation, several of the adults got screened (n=10), made an appointment to get screened (n=14), and/or talked to their doctor about getting screened (n=9). In addition, the majority of adolescents and adults indicated that because of this experience, they talked with each other about cancer in more detail and/or about other health related topics.

Although a pilot study, these results have implications for daughter-initiated interventions directed at family members.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe an intervention with adolescent girls that uses persuasive messaging to increase cancer screening behavior in their adult female relative. Evaluate the effectiveness of using adolescent females as health advocates to increase their mother or female relative's cancer screening behavior for cervical, breast and/or colon cancer. Identify the components of a persuasive message that may increase the likelihood of obtaining a cancer screening.

Keyword(s): Cancer Screening, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator of this NIH study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.