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Policy and Prevention: An Analysis of the Effectiveness of Contingency-Based Intervention on the Adoption of Cancer Screening Behavior

Saadi, Yvonne Marie (2009) Policy and Prevention: An Analysis of the Effectiveness of Contingency-Based Intervention on the Adoption of Cancer Screening Behavior. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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As a means of promoting preventive health behavior, incentives are becoming increasingly commonplace in healthcare and public policy. Yet relatively little research has been done on the different types of incentives (incentive, disincentive, and efficacy) or the means by which they can be used effectively in interventions to promote cancer screening. To examine these issues, a progression of four studies was designed. In the first experiment, undergraduate participants (N = 300) were given questionnaires to determine the general effects of incentives based on hypotheses drawn from several related literatures in psychology. Incentive-based health messages regarding skin cancer were varied by the type of incentive, message frame (gain/loss) and target behavior (sunscreen use/skin cancer screening exam). Though no main effects were observed with respect to message frame or behavior, incentives were found to better promote both intentions to receive skin cancer screening as well as anticipated contentment regarding one's ability to successfully engage in health behaviors than disincentives. Due to these findings, this study of incentives was simplified and expanded to relevant populations for colorectal cancer screening in two studies. Participants (N = 8 and N = 23) were given questionnaires designed to provide further insight on incentives—specifically, to assess the monetary amounts at which incentive messages would motivate them to undergo screening. Both incentives and disincentives were persuasive at fairly low monetary amounts, with no significant differences observed between the means of these constructs. Trends observed in the results of the two studies suggested that disincentives may more effectively promote screening than incentives among an older population. Given these contradictory findings, a final archival study was conducted to assess trends in screening cross-culturally as a function of the use of incentives in extant governmental interventions. Cross-cultural comparison revealed that countries with efficacy-based screening programs had significantly higher screening rates than those without such programs. With few comparative analyses on incentives currently in the literature, these studies were collectively aimed at complementing current understanding about incentives in the field of psychology and, by extension, about the effectiveness of the various incentive-based interventions that governments have been adopting in recent years.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Saadi, Yvonne Marieyms1@pitt.eduYMS1
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKlein, Williamwmklein@pitt.eduWMKLEIN
Committee MemberGreenberg, Martingreenber@pitt.eduGREENBER
Committee MemberHarris,
Committee Membervon Dirke, Sabinevondirke@pitt.eduVONDIRKE
Date: 15 May 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 13 April 2009
Approval Date: 15 May 2009
Submission Date: 6 May 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cancer screening; Colorectal cancer; Contingency; Disincentives; Incentives; screening programs
Other ID:, etd-05062009-041714
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:43
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:43


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