National Cancer Institute   National Cancer Institute

Behavioral Research

Table of Contents
1 Introduction
2 Self-Report of Cancer Behaviors

Self-Reports of Family History


Self-Reported Psychosocial Risk Factors among Cancer Patients


Application of Self-Report Measures in Cancer


Suggestions for Use of Self-Report for Cancer-Related Variables

7 Overall Conclusions
8 References
9 Published Examples

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Other Constructs



Dispositional Optimism




Illness Representations

  Implementation Intentions
  Intention, Expectation, and Willingness
  Normative Beliefs
  Optimistic Bias
  Perceived Benefits
  Perceived Control
  Perceived Severity
  Perceived Vulnerability
  Self-Reported Behavior
  Social Influence
  Social Support

Self-Report of Cancer-Related Behaviors
Joshua M. Smyth, Monica S. Webb, and Masanori Oikawa

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Self-Reports of Family History

Family history of cancer, particularly first-degree relatives, is a factor associated with increased cancer risk (e.g., Issacs, Kiemeney, Baffoe-Bonnie, Beaty, & Walsh, 1995). Self-report is the primary method of assessing family history of cancer. It appears to provide valid information for first-degree relatives and common cancers (Aitken, Bain, Ward, Siskind, & MacLennan, 1995; Kerber & Slattery, 1997; Ziogas & Anton-Culver, 2003), and only slightly less accuracy for reports of second and third-degree relatives (Ziogas & Anton-Culver, 2003), and reproductive-tract cancers (Kerber & Slattery, 1997). In general, this issue needs more research, but caution should be exercised when obtaining reports concerning non-first-degree relatives and/or more unusual, stigmatized, or less salient conditions.

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Health Behavior Constructs: Theory, Measurement, & Research