Objectives. To characterize variables associated with obtaining prostate cancer screening in a nonclinical, nationally distributed, middle-aged male population. Methods. Telephone interviews were administered to 2652 individual members of the Vietnam Era Twin Registry in 1992 and 1995. Dependent variables were self-report measures of having had a digital rectal examination (DRE) and/or a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test in the past 5 years. Independent variables were current measures of age, household income, education, race, insurance, source of care, and lifetime measures of physical condition, psychiatric illness, and alcohol and nicotine dependence. Results. Thirty-five percent of the sample reported having had a PSA and DRE within the past 5 years. Prevalence of obtaining either a PSA or DRE varied with age, income, education, and race. Subjects with a regular source of care, a regular physician, and health insurance reported higher rates of having had a DRE or PSA and DRE. Persons with a physical or psychiatric illness reported more screening. A multiple regression model revealed that having a regular source of care, having a regular physician, physical illness, psychiatric illness, minority status, higher income, and age predicted having had some form of screening. Conclusions. A substantial portion of middle-aged men have had both a PSA and DRE performed at least once in the preceding 5 years. It may be possible to further improve prostate cancer screening participation by directing educational programs at men who are not in contact with the healthcare system. If the PSA and DRE screening guidelines that are finally adopted discourage screening among low-risk men younger than age 50, educational programs that emphasize age screening criteria may be warranted.
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