Health Beliefs Related to Breast Self-Examination in a Sample of Turkish Women

Nursen O. Nahcivan

Selda Secginli

breast self-examinations, health behaviors, culture
ONF 2007, 34(2), 425-432. DOI: 10.1188/07.ONF.425-432

Purpose/Objectives: To examine health beliefs and sociodemographic and breast cancer-related variables influencing breast self-examination (BSE) practice.

Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional.

Setting: Two vocational training centers in Istanbul, Turkey.

Sample: 438 women were selected using a convenience sampling method. Participants had not had breast cancer and were not currently pregnant or breast-feeding. The mean age of participants was 33.51 years (range = 18-67).

Methods: Willing participants were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire and the Turkish version of Champion's Health Belief Model Scale. The sample was categorized into two groups: performers (i.e., women who performed BSE at least occasionally) and nonperformers (i.e., women who had never performed BSE).

Main Research Variables: Perceived susceptibility to and seriousness of breast cancer, perceived benefits of and barriers to BSE, confidence in the ability to perform BSE, health motivation, and frequency of BSE practice.

Findings: Significant differences between performers and nonperformers correlated to age, marital status, health insurance, regular gynecologic visits, and education about breast cancer and BSE. The mean scores of perceived benefits and confidence were noticeably higher in performers. Stepwise logistic regression analysis yielded three significant predictor variables.

Conclusions: Women who had more confidence in their ability to perform BSE, had health insurance, and were informed about breast cancer were more likely to practice BSE.

Implications for Nursing: Women in Turkey are at great risk for advanced breast cancer and metastatic spread because of their lack of knowledge. Nurses must provide information on breast cancer etiology, risks, prevention, and detection. To promote BSE practice among Turkish women, tailored health education and health promotion programs should be developed based on a specific understanding of women's health beliefs.

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