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 journalArticle

    10 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


    • Melanoma families
    • Risk attributions
    • Risk perceptions

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)
    • Psychiatry and Mental health

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