Exploring the Influence of Female Friendships on Decisions to Discuss the Breast Self-Exam in Young Adult Women
MetadataShow full item record
The breast self-exam (BSE) has been an important method for detection of breast cancer, especially in women under the age of 40. This study used grounded theory to explore the possible influence of female friendships on young women’s decisions regarding BSE. Conversations with six women in their 20s and 30s revealed that discussion of BSE is an exceptional conversation facilitated by the female friendship “safe zone” and a germinal event. Without being prompted by a germinal event, such as a health scare, it is generally considered to be an unnecessary conversation about private matters and viewed as out of the ordinary, especially for low-risk women. This conversation most easily occurs within the female friendship “safe zone” that develops through the body in common, a sense of trust, and private information sharing. Implications include peer mentoring for sharing and educating women and healthcare professionals on conditions that facilitate the exceptional conversation.