Healthy Women's Motivators and Barriers to Participation in a Breast Cancer Cohort Study: A Qualitative Study

Pamela S. Sinicrope, Christi A. Patten, Sarah M. Bonnema, Julka R. Almquist, Christina M. Smith, Timothy J. Beebe, Steven J. Jacobsen, Celine M. Vachon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: This focus group study describes motivators and barriers to participation in the Mayo Mammography Health Study (MMHS), a large-scale longitudinal study examining the causal association of breast density with breast cancer, involving completion of a survey, providing access to a residual blood sample for genetic analyses, and sharing their results from a screening mammogram. These women would then be followed up long term for breast cancer incidence and mortality. Methods: Forty-eight women participated in six focus groups, four with MMHS non-respondents (n = 27), and two with MMHS respondents (n = 21). Major themes were summarized using content analysis. Social cognitive theory (SCT) was used as a framework for interpretation of the findings. Results: Barriers to participation among MMHS non-respondents were 1) lack of confidence in their ability to fill out the survey accurately (self-efficacy); 2) lack of perceived personal connection to the study or value of participation (expectancies); and 3) fear related to some questions about perceived cancer risk and worry/concern (emotional coping responses). Among MMHS respondents, personal experience with cancer was reported as a primary motivator for participation (expectancies). Conclusions: Application of a theoretical model such as social cognitive therapy to the development of a study recruitment plan could be used to improve rates of study participation and provide a reproducible and evaluable strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-493
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Breast Cancer
  • Epidemiology
  • Focus Groups
  • Mammography
  • Participation
  • Qualitative
  • Recruitment
  • Social Cognitive Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Healthy Women's Motivators and Barriers to Participation in a Breast Cancer Cohort Study: A Qualitative Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this