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Affective associations with behavioral practices play an important role in individuals’ uptake of a variety of health behaviors. Most work has looked at individual behavioral practices with a direct impact on health; because screening behaviors are conceptually distinct from such behaviors, it is important to examine the interplay of affect and cognition in screening decision making. The current research explored affective and cognitive predictors of testicular and breast self-examination behavior. Young adult participants (N = 184) reported cognitive beliefs and affective associations with testicular self-exam behavior (male participants) and breast self-exam behavior (female participants) and reported their own current screening behavior. In univariable models, affective associations were related to screening behavior for both testicular self-exams and breast self-exams. When examining affective associations and cognitive beliefs as simultaneous predictors, affective associations (but not cognitive beliefs) predicted testicular self-exams, and neither affective associations nor cognitive beliefs were uniquely related to breast self-exams. Moreover, for testicular self-exams, affective associations mediated the relation between cognitive beliefs and screening behavior; no mediation was present for breast self-exam behavior. These findings suggest three potential outcomes: first, that greater consideration of affective associations in testicular self-exam screening decisions may be warranted; second, that breast and testicular self-exams may have different antecedents; and third, that incorporation of affective factors in intervention design might have merit for increasing engagement in some cancer screening behaviors.
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- Affective associations and cognitive beliefs relate to individuals’ decisions to perform testicular or breast self-exams
Carolyn R. Brown-Kramer
Marc T. Kiviniemi
- Springer US