Breast Cancer Screening Adherence

Does Church Attendance Matter?

Published in: Health Education and Behavior, v. 25, no. 6, Dec. 1998, p. 742-758

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1998

by Sarah Fox, Kathryn Pitkin Derose, Christopher Paul, Sally Carson, Naihua Duan

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Little is known about the health behaviors of church attendees. This article reviewed telephone interview data of 1,517 women who were church members from 45 churches located in Los Angeles County to determine their breast cancer screening status and to identify the key predictors of screening. Almost all of this sample (96%) reported attending church at least once a month. Key predictors of screening included physician-patient communication, ethnic background, and having medical insurance. Although church-related predictors were not significantly related to screening adherence, the authors compared community-based screening rates from another sample to their sample rates and found that, when controlling for income and education, church members fared better on mammography screening than women who were community residents. This finding suggests that frequent church attendance contributes to better mammography screening status and that the relationship between religious involvement and health behaviors needs further explanation.

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