Resistance To Medical Screening Can Be Overcome With Self-Affirmation

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Resistance against medical screening or preferring not to know the results can be due to their fright of knowing that they are suffering from or at risk for a certain disease. However, better prognosis can be derived if diseases like HIV/AIDS and cancer can be diagnosed early. In what way can health care providers destroy the wall of resistance?

Jennifer L. Howell and James A. Shepperd, psychologists from the University of Florida, conducted a new study concerning about what people truly value most. According to Howell, people can better accept such threatening information if you can help them to change their attention from a threat to their total sense of well-being. If this can be done, people will probably undergo medical screening even if they are aware that they would need to face burdensome therapy and even if the disease seems unmanageable. The study results can be found in Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science.

Three studies have been conducted by the researchers; each had 100 students of both sexes. In the 3 studies, they instructed the participants to think of an attribute they valued. They selected attributes like honesty, compassion and friendliness. Then, the participants noted either how the trait was demonstrated by them (expressing self-affirmation) or by a friend (not affirming themselves). Furthermore, the participants watched a video regarding a fictional disorder, thiamine acetlyase (TAA) deficiency, which apparently leads to impairment of the body’s ability for processing nutrients and can further result t medical complications. They accomplished an online risk calculator for the disorder. Then, they opted whether to know their risk feedback or not.

In the first investigation, avoiding receiving their risk feedback was more noted on those who wrote non-affirming essays than those who wrote self-affirming essays. Moreover, in studies 2 and 3, the research team explored the outcomes of affirmation on two circumstances which most likely augment risk feedback avoidance. In study 2, participants were made aware that screening for high risk TAA deficiency would require either an easy or tedious follow-up examination. Non-affirmed group evaded in knowing their risk more when they learned it needed burdensome follow-up, but the affirmed ones had less avoidance despite learning they need to go through a tedious follow-up. In the third study, participants knew that TAA could be managed with a pill or no effective treatment existed. The non-affirmed participants shun away from knowing their risk about twice as often when they heard no therapy exist against the disease, compared to the affirmed who opted to learn their risk even if there was no treatment.

The researchers concede that sometimes it is reasonable to opt not to learn about a serious disease you might have or at risk for. Howell, nonetheless, believes that it is imperative to get ready for negative instances by organizing one’s affairs, and looking for the necessary resources to deal with the situation. It can be a wise move to undergo screening.




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