First Advisor

Valerie Dull

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Health attitudes, Health behavior, Gynecologic examination, Sexual orientation



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, 58 p.)


Screening and early detection are essential for the management and control of most diseases. It is important for women to practice routine health care that includes both clinical and self examinations. Today, many women go without health care due to barriers which prevent them from obtaining adequate care. The present study was designed to investigate, using the Health Belief Model, whether there is a difference between heterosexual and lesbian women in obtaining gynecological exams. Responses from 23 8 participants, 70 heterosexuals and 168 lesbians, indicated that the Health Belief Model was a significant predictor of whether women complied with recommended guidelines for Pap smears. Further analyses indicated that the most predictive components of the model were self-efficacy and perceived barriers. The more self-efficacy the women reported, the more likely they were to comply; whereas, the more barriers the women reported, the less likely they were to comply. Surprisingly, there were no interactions between sexual orientation and the components of the Health BeliefModel with respect to compliance. Thus, the model predicts compliance in the same way for both lesbian and heterosexual women. The results are consistent with past research indicating that the Health Belief Model is a good predictor of health behavior for some groups. Suggestions for future studies are discussed.


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