A Pattern for Life vs a traditional breast self-examination program: Effects on self-efficacy and knowledge among African American women
African American women are disproportionately affected by breast cancer. While their incidence rates are below that of White women, their mortality rate is 28% higher. One reason for this higher mortality rate is that many African American women present to their health care provider with a later stage disease than White women. Reasons for these actions include lack of knowledge of early detection methods and issues accessing quality health care and treatment. A Pattern for Life is a breast self-examination (BSE) program designed to improve self-efficacy and knowledge among African American women in their performance of breast self-examination by means of the experience of "pattern making." The program was based on the adult education theories of self-efficacy from Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory and Freire's empowerment pedagogy and combined a proven BSE program with "pattern making" in a culturally sensitive model. Using a quasi-experimental study design, data were collected from 54 African American women recruited and trained by Community Health Advisors as Research Partners (CHARPs) participating in either A Pattern for Life or a traditional breast self-examination program in four counties of the Mississippi Delta and in Hattiesburg, MS. Analysis of Covariance revealed no significant difference in self-efficacy between the two groups at the one-month follow-up with F (1,48) = .041, p = .841 while controlling for pre-training self-efficacy. The self-efficacy adjusted mean for the control group was 59.69 and for the intervention group it was 60.13 at the 95% confidence level. Additionally, no significant difference in knowledge was found between the control and intervention groups at the one-month follow-up with F (1,53) = .462, p = .500 while controlling for pre-training knowledge. The knowledge adjusted mean for the control group was 4.86 and for the intervention group it was 5.33 at the 95% confidence level. While the quantitative data did not support this program, the qualitative data from the participants was very favorable.