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Cancer-Focused News Coverage and Information Seeking: Results from a National Survey
Unformatted Document Text:  CANCER INFORMATION SEEKING 5 DeNittis, Whittington, & Metz, 2003). Nevertheless, studies have found strong associations between cancer patient information seeking and knowledge gain, affective support, emotional adjustment, satisfaction, and prompt action in the face of symptoms (Green & Roberts, 1974; Gotcher & Edwards, 1990; Zemore & Shepel, 1987), suggesting that cancer-related information seeking is an important behavior that leads to favorable outcomes among the patient population. Furthermore, several authors suggest that cancer-related information seeking is likely to promote enduring changes in cancer-related attitudes and behavior among the non-patient population (Freimuth et al., 1989; Johnson, 1997; Griffin, Dunwoody & Neuwirth, 1999). Freimuth and colleagues (1989) and Johnson (1997) have proposed independent models of cancer-related information seeking. Both models suggest a variety of factors associated with increased likelihood of cancer-related information seeking, including demographic characteristics (older age, female gender, Caucasian race/ethnicity, higher education and income) and personal or familial experience with cancer. In addition, both models suggest that the general population relies on mediated sources for news and information related to cancer prevention, screening and treatment. Unplanned exposure to cancer information, such as cancer-focused news stories, is thought to potentially promote active efforts to obtain additional information. The likelihood of unplanned exposure to cancer-related information is a function of an individuals’ information environment; that is the more a person pays attention to health information or, for example, subscribes to information sources with a health focus the greater the likelihood of being exposed to cancer related information that could trigger subsequent information seeking (Johnson, 1997). News Coverage and Health-Related Behavior A growing body of evidence indicates that news coverage has contributed to notable changes in disease prevention behavior across a range of conditions. Time-trend analyses link long-term patterns of news coverage to a wealth of health-related behaviors including successful

Authors: Niederdeppe, Jeffrey., Frosch, Dominick. and Hornik, Robert.
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CANCER INFORMATION SEEKING
5
DeNittis, Whittington, & Metz, 2003). Nevertheless, studies have found strong associations
between cancer patient information seeking and knowledge gain, affective support, emotional
adjustment, satisfaction, and prompt action in the face of symptoms (Green & Roberts, 1974;
Gotcher & Edwards, 1990; Zemore & Shepel, 1987), suggesting that cancer-related information
seeking is an important behavior that leads to favorable outcomes among the patient population.
Furthermore, several authors suggest that cancer-related information seeking is likely to promote
enduring changes in cancer-related attitudes and behavior among the non-patient population
(Freimuth et al., 1989; Johnson, 1997; Griffin, Dunwoody & Neuwirth, 1999).
Freimuth and colleagues (1989) and Johnson (1997) have proposed independent models
of cancer-related information seeking. Both models suggest a variety of factors associated with
increased likelihood of cancer-related information seeking, including demographic characteristics
(older age, female gender, Caucasian race/ethnicity, higher education and income) and personal
or familial experience with cancer. In addition, both models suggest that the general population
relies on mediated sources for news and information related to cancer prevention, screening and
treatment. Unplanned exposure to cancer information, such as cancer-focused news stories, is
thought to potentially promote active efforts to obtain additional information. The likelihood of
unplanned exposure to cancer-related information is a function of an individuals’ information
environment; that is the more a person pays attention to health information or, for example,
subscribes to information sources with a health focus the greater the likelihood of being exposed
to cancer related information that could trigger subsequent information seeking (Johnson, 1997).
News Coverage and Health-Related Behavior
A growing body of evidence indicates that news coverage has contributed to notable
changes in disease prevention behavior across a range of conditions. Time-trend analyses link
long-term patterns of news coverage to a wealth of health-related behaviors including successful


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