Conversations about Abnormal Mammograms on Distress and Timely Follow-up Across Ethnicity.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of cancer education : the official journal of the American Association for Cancer Education, Volume 32, Issue 2, p.320-327 (2017)


Communication with healthcare providers, family, and friends is associated with increased mammography use. Less is known about the abnormal mammogram experience, especially in terms of the interval between screening and follow-up appointments (time to follow-up) and psychological distress. The impact of communication may vary across ethnicity, depending on cultural emphases placed on interpersonal relationships. The current study's objectives were to (a) explore the role of family/friend and provider communication with regard to time to follow-up and distress and (b) examine if family/friend and provider communication moderates associations between ethnicity and these outcomes. A convenience-based sample of 41 Latina and 41 non-Latina White (NLW) women who had received an abnormal mammogram result was recruited from Washington State. Women who discussed results with providers had a shorter time to follow-up, although this was not significant when including health insurance. A significant interaction between conversations with family/friends and ethnicity was found: Latinas who did not have conversations with family/friends had particularly elevated psychological distress relative to NLW women and slightly more than other Latinas. This exploratory study suggests health communication with providers and family/friends is important for timely receipt of follow-up care and reduced distress among women who receive an abnormal mammogram result, which has implications for cancer education intervention development and adaptation. Larger, population-based research is necessary to confirm these findings.