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Health Serv Res. 1998 April; 33(1): 29–53.
PMCID: PMC1070245

Factors associated with women's adherence to mammography screening guidelines.


OBJECTIVE: To examine individual and environmental factors associated with adherence to mammography screening guidelines. DATA SOURCES: A unique data set that combines a national probability sample (1992 National Health Interview Survey); a national probability sample of mammography facility characteristics (1992 National Survey of Mammography Facilities); county-level data on 1990 HMO market share; and county-level data on the supply of primary care providers (1991 Area Resource File). STUDY DESIGN: The design was cross-sectional. DATA EXTRACTION/ANALYSIS: Data sets were linked to create an individual-level sample of women ages 50-74 (weighted n = 2,026). We used multipart, sequential logistic regression models to examine the predictors of having ever had mammography, having had recent mammography, and adherence to guidelines. We categorized women as adherent if they reported a lifetime number of exams appropriate for their age (based on screening every two years) and they reported having had an exam in the past two years. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Only 27 percent of women had the age-appropriate number of screening exams (range 16 percent-37 percent), while 59 percent of women had been screened within two years. Women were significantly more likely to adhere to screening guidelines if they reported participating with their doctor in the decision to be screened; were younger; had smaller families, higher education and income, and a recent Pap smear; reported breast problems; and lived in an area with a higher percentage of mammography facilities with reminder systems, no shortage of primary care providers, higher HMO market share, and higher screening charges. CONCLUSIONS: A small percentage of women adhere to screening guidelines, suggesting that adherence needs to become a focus of clinical, programmatic, and policy efforts.

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