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To determine the relative importance of health beliefs and the characteristics of different methods of faecal occult blood screening in predicting acceptance of the test a self completed questionnaire was offered to 590 patients registered with a practice in an Oxfordshire market town. The patients were an age- sex stratified random sample of those who had been offered screening as part of a trial in which one of three different faecal occult blood screening tests, two of which were self-reported, had been offered. The overall adjusted response rate was 70.1%. Those who complied with the test had more positive attitudes to the implications of a positive test, to treatment and to the value of screening in general. The experience of a close relative or friend with bowel cancer was associated with an increased likelihood of compliance [odds ratio = 15.2 (9.4-24.3)]. There were marked differences between the tests in the proportions of patients finding them ’messy’ or ’disgusting’ (Haemoccult 72.0%, Coloscreen 48.0%, Early Detector 55.4% X2 Haemoccult vs. self-reported = 5.05 P<0.05), and the odds of finding the procedure disgusting were significantly higher among patients who did not complete the test [odds ratio 6.9 (3.1-15.5)]. © 1991 Oxford University Press.

Original publication




Journal article


Family Practice

Publication Date





367 - 372