Alcohol is a causal factor in about 10% of breast cancer (BCa) cases, but awareness of this link is low. This study explored how to raise awareness and inform the development of an intervention using the COM-B model (capability, opportunity, motivation, behavior) framework. Eight online focus groups were conducted with 36 participants (6 expert stakeholders, and 30 women aged 40-65). Participants reflected on a package of information about alcohol and BCa and discussed how to impart this information and encourage women to reduce drinking. Thematic analysis of focus group transcripts was undertaken. Three themes were identified: understanding ineffective messaging; transitions and challenges; and message acceptability. Current health information about alcohol was perceived as judgmental and BCa was put down to chance. Mid-life consisted of many challenges that could lead to increased consumption, but menopause transition may be a key moment for alcohol reduction. Barriers and enablers to communicating risk information and encouraging alcohol reduction were mapped onto the COM-B model. Psychological capability (relating to knowledge), social opportunity (in the form of social pressure) and automatic motivation (relating to drinking to cope) were barriers to behavior change. These will be targeted in an alcohol reduction intervention. It is important to tailor information to women’s experiences, taking into account the social benefits of drinking, and encourage the development of healthy coping strategies. Acceptable intervention messages may include personal stories, clear statistics, and suggest healthy alternatives to drinking. It is vital that messaging does not appear judgmental or patronizing.
Davies, Emma L.
Department of Psychology, Health and Professional DevelopmentOxford School of Nursing and Midwifery
Year of publication: 2023Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-08-04