Personal attributions for melanoma risk in melanoma-affected patients and family members

Jennifer Hay, Marco Dibonaventura, Raymond Baser, Nancy Press, Jeanne Shoveller, Deborah Bowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Personal attributions for cancer risk involve factors that individuals believe contribute to their risk for developing cancer. Understanding personal risk attributions for melanoma may dictate gene-environment melanoma risk communication strategies. We examined attributions for melanoma risk in a population-based sample of melanoma survivors, first degree family members, and family members who are also parents (N = 939). We conducted qualitative examination of open-ended risk attributions and logistic regression examining predictors (demographics, family member type, perceived risk) of the attributions reported (ultraviolet radiation [UVR] exposure, heredity/genetics, phenotype, personal melanoma history, miscellaneous). We found a predominance of risk attributions to UVR and heredity/genetics (80 and 45% of the sample, respectively). Those reporting higher education levels were more likely to endorse attributions to heredity/genetics, as well as to phenotype, than those of lower education levels. First-degree relatives and parent family members were more likely to endorse heredity/genetic attributions than melanoma survivors; melanoma survivors were more likely to endorse personal history of melanoma attributions compared to first-degree relatives and parent family members. These findings inform the development of risk communication interventions for melanoma families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Melanoma families
  • Risk attributions
  • Risk perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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