Rational choice(s)? Rethinking decision-making on breast cancer risk and screening mammography

  • Vahabi M
  • Gastaldo D
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Women who refrain from undergoing breast cancer screening are believed to be uninformed about risks and usually labeled as irrational. Our purpose in writing this paper is to challenge the traditional notion of rational behaviour, illustrating with qualitative data that people's rationality is influenced by their socio-cultural and political identities. We explore three major themes: (1) cultural explanations regarding intention to use screening mammography (2) (dis)trust in science and expert opinion, and (3) self-responsibility and self-surveillance in caring for one's body. Understanding that women rely on different risk discourses to make decisions about their health should aide researchers, health professionals, and the community in better understanding alternative ways of conceptualizing people's health-related behaviours when they do not coincide with health authorities recommendations.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Breast cancer prevention
  • Cultural/symbolic perspective
  • Decision-making
  • Governmentality
  • Risk perception
  • Risk society

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