Breast self-examination and the health belief model: Variations on a theme


  • Dr. Mary Alexandra Wyper

    Corresponding author
    • Kent State University School of Nursing, Kent, Ohio 44242–0001
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Mary A. Wyper, PhD, RN, is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, Kent State University, Kent, OH.


Variables derived from the Health Belief Model (HBM) were studied in relation to breast self-examination (BSE) performance, which was measured in terms of both frequency and thoroughness. Data were collected from 202 adult women via self-administered questionnaires. Susceptibility and Seriousness were combined to form a “threat of breast cancer” variable, and two approaches were used to compute “net perceived efficacy of BSE.” However, barriers and susceptibility in their original form explained more variance in BSE practice than did the combined variables. The negative relationship found between perceived barriers and BSE performance (r= –.44) is consistent with previous findings. Implications for research and practice are presented.