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22-04-2010 | Uitgave 1/2016

Journal of Behavioral Medicine 1/2016

Early detection of testicular cancer: revisiting the role of self-efficacy in testicular self-examination among young asymptomatic males

Journal of Behavioral Medicine > Uitgave 1/2016
Kanayo Umeh, Rebecca Chadwick


Research suggests that self-efficacy is an important factor in behaviors that facilitate the early-detection of various cancers. In general people with high self-efficacy are more likely to attend cancer screening sessions or perform bodily self-exams. However, there is a paucity of research focusing on testicular cancer and testicular self-examination (TSE). The effect of self-efficacy on TSE remains unclear especially given the relative obscurity of the testicular cancer threat, and appropriate clinical- and self-detection procedures, in the young asymptomatic male population. Thus, the present study tested the interaction of self-efficacy with young men’s appraisals of the threat of testicular cancer. The study was based on 2 × 2 × 2 mixed factorial experimental design. Over 100 young asymptomatic men were exposed to a health warning about testicular cancer and randomly assigned to high/low self-efficacy, vulnerability, and severity conditions. High self-efficacy increased motivation to perform TSE given high vulnerability, but damaged attitudes to self-exams given low vulnerability and severity estimates. High self-efficacy also facilitated subsequent TSE. Overall, these findings support preexisting notions of self-efficacy but raise new questions about the moderating effects of threat appraisals.

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