• colorectal cancer screening;
  • decision making;
  • individual adherence;
  • literature review


Objective: Compliance with colorectal cancer screening recommendations requires considerable conscious effort on the part of the individual patient, making an individual's decisions about engagement in screening an important contributor to compliance or noncompliance. The objective of this paper was to examine the effectiveness of individual-level behavior theories and their associated constructs in accounting for engagement in colorectal cancer screening behavior.

Methods: We reviewed the literature examining constructs from formal models of individual-level health behavior as factors associated with compliance with screening for colorectal cancer. All published studies examining one or more constructs from the health belief model, theory of planned behavior, transtheoretical model, or social cognitive theory and their relation to screening behavior or behavioral intentions were included in the analysis.

Results: By and large, results of studies supported the theory-based predictions for the influence of constructs on cancer screening behavior. However, the evidence base for many of these relations, especially for models other than the health belief model, is quite limited.

Conclusions: Suggestions are made for future research on individual-level determinants of colorectal cancer screening. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.