African-American women respond to stories

Personal approach better than didactic

African-American women were more open to learning about breast self-exam and mammography when stories about cancer survivors were included in an informational video, according to a report published in Patient Education and Counseling.1

Participants in the study were 489 African-American women age 40 years and older who had received at least one prior mammogram. The women completed surveys before and after watching a video about mammography and breast cancer. Women were divided into two groups, with one group watching a narrative video that included personal stories and one group watching a video that used a didactic, information approach to teaching.

Women who watched the narrative video experienced more positive and negative emotions, found it easier to understand the video, and had more positive evaluations of the video. They also reported a strong identification with the source of the message, saying they trusted or liked the speaker and identified with her message.

The authors suggest that stories of other women's experiences may be a powerful way to encourage African-American women to get a mammogram as compared to didactic presentations.


McQueen A, Kreuter MW. Women's cognitive and affective reactions to breast cancer survivor stories: A structural equation analysis. Patient Educ Couns Published online Sept. 17, 2010. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2010.08.015.