Dissertation Abstract

Knowledge of Breast Self-Examination and Other Determinants Relationship on the Self-Rated Health Status of Elderly Women

Publication Number:  AAT3148157
Author:  Evans, Kevin D.
School:  The Ohio State University
Date:  2004
Pages:  167
Subject:  Gerontology, Womens Studies, Public Health

An urgent need exists to reduce elderly women's risk for breast cancer by promoting a health behavior that could lower this threat. The knowledge of breast self-examination could represent a health behavior that leads to the detection of advanced breast cancer and could influence elderly women's self-rated health status.

The focus of this study was to determine if the knowledge of breast self-examination (BSE) as an adaptive health behavior can influence the self-rated health status of elderly women. Additional factors were also considered for the extent of their potential influence on an elderly woman's estimate of health.

The purpose of this research was to study the relationship of breast cancer risk, knowledge of BSE, environmental press, and individual competence factors on the self-rated health status of women, age 75 years and older, residing in a group of assisted living facilities. This study looked at whether BSE knowledge could be a significant contributor to these women's self-rated health status.

This research was conducted with a quasi-experimental design and used random assignment to place assisted living facilities in either treatment or control groups.

On the participant level, older women were provided with their risk of breast cancer prior to the intervention. In addition, the experimental group of older women received BSE instruction and then 8 weeks later were surveyed as to their health. Likewise, the control group provided the same data, except BSE instruction was withheld. A t-test was done to check for differences between the groups as well as a correlation to gauge relationships between the independent variables and the dependent variable for each of the groups. Finally, a step-wise linear regression was preformed to find which of the independent variables best explained the most variance in the dependent variable for each of the groups.

BSE knowledge was shown to contribute statistically to the experimental older women's self rated mental health scores. Independent activities of daily living were statistically significant for both groups at explaining variance in their physical health scores. Independence also was indicated as being important in explaining variance in the mental health score of the experimental group.

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