The purpose of this research was to identify the relationships of attitudes about breast self‐examination and breast cancer to the frequency of breast self‐examination. The health belief model was used as a theoretical base. Likert scales were developed for the independent variables of susceptibility, seriousness, benefit, barriers, and health motivation; the dependent variable was frequency of breast self‐examination. A convenience sample of 301 women was drawn from a large metropolitan city. Self‐administered questionnaires contained the developed scales, a measure of frequency of breast self‐examination, and demographic variables. Results supported the health belief model's prediction of frequency of breast self‐examination (R = .51; p ⩽ .01). In addition, the variables of seriousness, benefits, barriers, and health motivation discriminated groupings according to frequency of breast self‐examination. Results support the relationship of the health belief model variable to the behavior of breast self‐examination. Nursing implications are discussed.
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