Iranian Women’s Breast Health–Seeking Behaviors: Husband’s Role

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Breast cancer has become the most common cancer among Yazdi women in Iran. Thus, it is necessary to encourage these women to participate in breast health–seeking behaviors. In this regard, husbands can play an effective role.


The aim of this study was to explore women’s perceptions about the effect of their husband’s role on breast health–seeking protection motivation.


This study used a directed qualitative content analysis approach based on the Protection Motivation Theory. Participants were selected using purposive sampling; in-depth semistructured interviews with 14 Yazdi women were completed.


One major category named “motivator role of husband” emerged from the analysis. The following subcategories underlying this category were “indifference and a lack of support as long as the women can continue with expected duties,” “what women want for support,” “facilitating and restrictive factors of husband’s supportive role,” “public health education needed,” and “husband’s agreement with preventive actions.”


Voluntary participation in breast health–seeking behaviors is a culturally sensitive topic. The qualitative methodology allowed this sensitive topic and its different aspects to be explored. The findings indicated that the major source of support for women was their husband’s behavior toward breast health–seeking actions. Family cohesion and love among couples were identified as strong determinant factors pertaining to husband’s supportive behaviors.

Implications for Practice

The study findings provided deeper understanding about the effective factors related to a husband’s role in motivating a wife to practice breast cancer prevention. These new findings are relevant for health educators and practitioners to develop culturally based interventions.

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