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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Factors influencing performance discrepancies in breast self-examination practices of adult female graduate students Armstrong, Ingrid Erna


A performance discrepancy exists when there is a difference between actual and desired performance. In the health care field, the term compliance is used to describe such discrepancies. The usual response in such instances is the development of an educational program. Such approaches are concerned with remedies not problem solving. This research project was an attempt at problem solving in the specific area of breast self-examination. A broad research question was used: What factors are related to end behaviour in breast self-examination practices? Based on a literature review, a paradigm was developed which attempted to explain participation in the preventive health measure of breast self-examination. It was felt that this activity involved a complex emotional response to the threat of cancer and that any attempt to explain behaviour would require the examination of a wide range of variables. A data collection instrument was created using a combination of previously and newly developed questions. The female students enrolled in the University of British Columbia, Adult Education Division classes were chosen as the research group because of their geographical proximity, their uniform educational level and their occupational backgrounds. This group of women provided an opportunity to compare women with experience in the health care field to women with a non-health background. Small sample size and homogeniety of subjects on the variables tested precluded extensive statistical analysis of results. Some interesting points do appear in the data, however, and several independent variables were significantly related to breast self-examination practices. Implications for future research and for teaching breast self-examination are given.

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