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Mammogram-Screening Policy as Need Intervention

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This study examines the rhetorical process that underlies how we constitute and promote needs related to mammogram-screening policy specifically and policy-making generally. The Rhetoric of Social Intervention model first frames a brief historical overview of symbolically constituted needs related to screening policy and then is used to analyze how the 2009 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) attempted to introduce an alternative screening policy. Rhetorical strategies, tactics, and maneuvers related to promoting and impeding policy change are examined. Although the USPSTF intended to expand women's options by directing attention to women's individualized needs for screening, its approach to communicating appears inadvertently to have reduced them. To intervene more effectively, then, practitioners must consider a social system's worldview and interdependencies upon which the symbolic needs generating a policy are based. The findings suggest the overarching ideological need to create a more perfect world, which underlies all policy-making, needs further investigation.

Keywords: Breast Cancer; Intervention; Mammograms; Policy; Social Change

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2012


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