Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Few people are doing it, so why should I? Motivating men to seek cancer screening

In Germany, several national health campaigns promote cancer screening by announcing that only one in five German men gets screened. This is supposed to motivate men to have an examination. But a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that this well-meaning message has the exact opposite effect: it makes men less likely to choose to get screened.

In an earlier study, Monika Sieverding of the University of Heidelberg and her colleagues (Uwe Matterne and Liborio Ciccarello) had found that men who had never been screened for cancer thought that most other men weren't getting screened, either. But Sieverding wanted to know if these men's beliefs about screening rates influenced whether they decided to have cancer screening.

The researchers approached men in the pedestrian areas of two large German cities. They chose men who were 45 or older and had never been screened for cancer. (In Germany, the basic screening for men includes a prostate cancer exam and often also a blood test for colorectal cancer.) The men read one of two statements about cancer screening. One stated that only 18 percent of German men had been screened for cancer in the last year ("low-prevalence" group); the other said that already 65 percent of men had been screened ("high-prevalence" group). Both of these statements were true. The first was only about a one-year time period, while the second is the percentage of men who had ever been tested in their lifetime. Then the men were asked if they intended to have cancer screening in the next 12 months.

Men in the high-prevalence group were much more likely to indicate that they would have cancer screening in the next year than those in the low-prevalence group. Additionally, men in the low-prevalence group were less likely to provide their name and address to receive further information about cancer screening by mail, thus indicating that low-prevalence information may actually have a demotivating effect.

"For us it is so interesting because this is very easy to change," says Sieverding, who co-wrote the article with Sarah Decker and Friederike Zimmermann, all of the University of Heidelberg. "There are so many barriers to cancer screening. You cannot change attitudes easily, or the image of the average cancer screening patient, but it is easy to change the framing of the campaign." Health campaigns could easily be designed to make people think that most other people are doing this behavior, so you should, too – whether it's cancer screening, vaccinations, or washing your hands.

For more information about this study, please contact: Monika Sieverding

Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. For a copy of the article "Information About Low Participation in Cancer Screening Demotivates Other People" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Keri Chiodo at 202-293-9300 or

Keri Chiodo | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>