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Table of Contents
1 Introduction
2 Self-Report of Cancer Behaviors
3 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


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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Overall Conclusions

In sum, there are several mechanisms through which cancer researchers can attempt to maximize the utility of self-report data. These include using established instruments, assessing recent versus past events or states, providing cues to enhance recall, ensuring the clarity of all self-report questions, and including training to reduce (and probes to assess) confusion. Also, researchers should be aware of items that request information on potentially sensitive topics, and consider the impact of social desirability and stigma on findings. Under ideal circumstances, a multi-method approach for convergent validity with self-report data should be used. Gold standard, objective, or other validation methods should be used whenever possible to corroborate patient self-reports (e.g., CO, cotinine, measured weight in light clothing, measured height without shoes, measured BMI, measured BP, measured fasting serum cholesterol, pathology test results, medical records). Researchers can also use alternative measures of self-report such as narrative data (e.g., Lane & Viney, 2005) or key informant reports (e.g., physician, family, or significant others). When self-report is the only option, multiple types of subjective reports ought to be included to increase the validity of findings. Finally, researchers should consistently describe their data collection methods and steps taken to maximize self-report accuracy, and indicate how the use of self-report measurements may limit conclusions.

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Health Behavior Constructs: Theory, Measurement, & Research