[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Psycho-social factors influencing their delay in reporting breast symptoms and their practice of breast self-examination were studied in 90 women who were to undergo biopsy of their breasts. One quarter had delayed more than 4 months and a half had never examined their own breasts. Their delay was determined by unconscious psychological processes, including the use of the egodefences of denial and suppression, the non-use of the defence of intellectualisation-isolation, the absence of anxiety reported verbally, the presence of anxiety shown non-verbally and the presence of depression reported verbally. Together, these accounted for nearly half (43.4%) of all the variance in delay. Conscious factors, including age, education, knowledge about cancer, and fear (of death, disease or breast loss) were not related to the length of delay, nor to the practice of breast self-examination. Furthermore, the evidence suggested that the presence of malignancy was related to a low level of conscious anxiety before biopsy.
Social Science & Medicine (1967) 03/1977; 11(4-11):229-232. DOI:10.1016/0037-7856(77)90069-5