Subject positions in screening mammography and implications for informed choice

Kristen Seaman, Peta L. Dzidic, Emily Castell, Christobel Saunders, Lauren J. Breen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Screening mammography has potential benefits as well as harms, but these are not always communicated to women. We therefore explored how women discuss screening mammography, the subject positions made available in their discourse, and the implications of these for informed choice. Design: We conducted 16 individual interviews with women aged 44-72 years who were attenders (n = 11) and non-attenders (n = 5) of screening, and analysed transcripts through Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. Main Outcome Measures: A semi-structured interview guide, informed by literature and researcher expertise, was used to collect data. Results: The women constructed screening mammography as either helpful or potentially harmful. We identified three subject positions—The Responsible Woman (who attends screening), The Irresponsible Woman (who does not attend screening), and the Judicious Woman (who engages in alternate breast health practices). Conclusion: These subject positions have the potential to limit women’s choices, constrain shared decision-making with health professionals, and restrict women’s engagement in risk-reducing behaviours. An expanded range of options ultimately offers an alternate future in which women’s autonomy to control their own bodies is better supported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-495
Number of pages18
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number4
Early online date14 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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