Examining gain- and loss-framed messages in a novel breast cancer screening/cardiovascular context: Does framing matter?

Katharine J. Head, Nancy Grant Harrington, Julie B. Schnur, Laurie Margolies, Guy H. Montgomery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Digital mammography can reveal not only breast cancer but also breast arterial calcification (BAC), which can indicate potential coronary artery disease. To explore ways to inform women of their BAC status in the context of a standard mammography results letter, we conducted a preliminary study comparing gain- and loss-framed messages to encourage follow-up cardiovascular care. Methods: U.S. women over age 40 with no heart disease history (N = 227) were randomly assigned to view a mammography letter including BAC information in one of seven ways (three gain-framed messages, three loss-framed messages, one comparison message). Results: Post-test measures indicated no significant differences on BAC knowledge, recall of test results and recommendations, perceived message effectiveness, or behavioral intentions for follow-up. Conclusion: Despite showing no significant differences between message conditions, results supported the messages' ability to clearly convey BAC information and encourage intention for follow-up cardiovascular care. Innovation: This experimental study represents the first published report examining the inclusion of BAC screening results within the mammography letter. It also explored the use of message framing in a dual detection–prevention context and suggests that future work should test the effects of including both framing tactics in messages designed to target dual-focus contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100007
JournalPEC Innovation
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute [grant R01 CA251754 ]. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


  • Cardiovascular health
  • Mammogram
  • Message framing
  • Message testing
  • Perceived message effectiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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