Year of Publication

2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Michael A. Andrykowski

Second Advisor

Dr. Jamie L. Studts

Abstract

In medical settings, a teachable moment (TM) has been described as an event which may lead to psychological changes prompting individuals to engage in health promoting behaviors. A cancer screening (CS) has been suggested as a potential TM because several types of positive health behavior change (HBC), ranging from dietary changes to smoking cessation, have been linked to CS. However, most research has examined the TM in CS settings using cross-sectional and prospective methodologies and has lacked a theory-driven model. Moreover, few intervention studies have attempted to capitalize on the potential TM in CS settings. In light of this, the primary purpose of this study was to examine the potential for routine ovarian CS to serve as a TM to enhance the potential for HBC using a theory-driven conceptual model of a TM. A prospective, longitudinal design was used to track changes in positive affect, self-efficacy (SE), HBC intentions and HBC following participation in routine ovarian CS. The impact of a brief, written intervention intended to enhance SE to engage in HBC was also examined. There were three total study assessments: the baseline (T1), 24-hour follow-up (T2), and one month follow-up (T3) assessment. Results indicated positive affect and positive consequences of screening increased over time (p’s<.01) and increases in positive affect were positively associated with greater healthy diet HBC. Additionally, greater positive consequences of screening at T2 predicted greater exercise HBC. No significant changes were observed in exercise or healthy diet intentions over time; there were no differential effects based upon the intervention for positive affect, SE, HBC, or HBC intentions (p’s>.05). Healthy diet SE and exercise SE remained stable (p>.05) but were found to be a robust predictor for both exercise and healthy diet HBC intentions. While several of our hypotheses were supported, the brief health information intervention did not appear to impact SE, HBC intentions, or actual HBC. To better equip health providers in CS settings, studies should continue examining both the potential for CS settings to serve as a TM to enhance HBC and how receipt of a normal test result impacts this potential.

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