The psychological impact of modeling in a cancer survivors' fashion show

T. E. Kottke, M. A. Trapp, P. Spittal, L. Panser, P. Novotny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Our objective was to assess whether cancer survivors can serve as models to promote cancer prevention and screening without suffering psychological discomfort themselves. The disease-coping literature suggests that if women knew more about what cancer treatment and life after surviving cancer were like, they would be more likely to accept cancer screening tests. Because cancer survivors are living examples showing that people can survive and thrive after cancer, survivors have the potential to promote cancer screening by teaching others in their community. However, if cancer survivors are to be asked to accept this task, it is essential to demonstrate that this activity does not cause psychological suffering for them. Cancer survivors were invited (n = 31) or volunteered (n = 22) to model in a cancer survivors' fashion show. All were asked to complete a brief biographical sketch before the event and a convenience subsample was interviewed by a trained ethnographer. A brief questionnaire was mailed to the models after the event. Individuals who did not return the mailed questionnaire were contacted by telephone. Forty-two of the models completed the mailed questionnaire and 10 were contacted by telephone. The models tended to report that the experience was very positive for themselves (mean = 9.0, standard deviation [SD] = 1.3 on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is extremely negative and 10 is extremely positive) and for their family and friends who attended the fashion show (mean = 9.1, SD = 1.3 on the same scale). Under the proper conditions, modeling survivorship to others can be a rewarding experience for cancer survivors. While the models are easy to recruit, it remains to be demonstrated that cancer survivors are effective lay advocates for cancer prevention and screening. Medical Subject Headings (MeSH): mammography, recruitment, cancer survivors, psychological effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-207
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

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