Perceptions of breast cancer in Irish women: The role of experience in determining illness beliefs.

Andrea Gibbons, AnnMarie Groarke, Ruth Curtis, Anne Marie Keane

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Background: This study compared differences in illness perceptions of breast cancer in Irish women with varying personal experiences of breast cancer. Methods: Women with breast cancer (N = 40) and women with or without a family history of breast cancer (N = 80) completed measures of illness perceptions (IPQ-R), optimism (LOT), anxiety, depression (HADS) and positive and negative affect (PANAS). Findings: ANOVA analyses revealed that healthy women consider breast cancer to have more serious consequences (p <.005), more symptoms (p <.0001) and a more chronic disease (p <.0001) than women with breast cancer. Healthy women were also more likely to hold stronger causal beliefs relating to behaviour, e.g. diet, smoking and alcohol (p <.0005). Women with breast cancer were more likely to attribute breast cancer to chance or bad luck (p <.01). Discussion: Healthy women’s inaccurate perceptions of breast cancer have direct implications for adherence to breast cancer screening.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130
Number of pages1
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue numberSuppl 2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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