Afraid to Get Tested? Slow Down and Think About It

The New York Times: 

Many patients are eager to search bottomless troves of health information on the Internet. But when it comes to learning whether they are at risk for certain diseases by getting a medical test, millions would rather just not know.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three patients infected with H.I.V. do not get tested in sufficient time to benefit from existing treatments. The research literature is rife with studies of low rates for colonoscopies, mammograms and an array of genetic testing.

The University of Florida psychologists carried out a series of experiments that sought to address that divergence, asking “How can we get people to put aside their emotions and fears and receive potentially bad news about their health?” said Jennifer L. Howell, a graduate student and lead author of the study, along with James A. Shepperd, a professor of social psychology.

In their most recent work, published in the journal Psychological Science, they tried an approach called contemplation, a psychological technique that gets subjects to identify their qualms and think about them.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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