This study examined whether community characteristics, particularly community attitudes regarding mammography use, are associated with women's use of mammography in rural communities. Forty communities in predominantly rural areas of Washington State were selected for inclusion in this study based on their size and distance from an urban center. Characteristics of the communities were assessed as were characteristics of women living in the communities. From each community, random samples of 352 women between 50 and 80 years old participated by completing a telephone survey that included questions on a variety of tonics, including their use of mammography. Logistic regression analyses revealed community of residence to be a significant predictor of individual women's mammography use after adjusting for individual level predictors of mammography use including age, education, employment, marital status, financial situation, and ease of access to medical services. An examination of the influence of community characteristics revealed women living in communities with supportive community attitudes towards mammography use report higher levels of mammography use than do women living in communities with less supportive attitudes. The presence or absence of male or female physicians or of mammography facilities in a local community was not associated with statistically significant effects on women's mammography use. Community attitudes are associated with mammography use in rural communities. Public health interventions that change community attitudes may have effects that extend beyond the people directly contacted by these interventions.
- Social norms
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