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Cervical Cancer Messages in Women’s Magazines: A Content Analysis Grounded in the Extended Parallel Process Model
Unformatted Document Text:  Cervical Cancer 22 than in older women, but no less important, particularly if younger women feel less susceptible but are at risk due to sexual activity and/or irregular pap screenings (ACS, 2002). When the component categories under susceptibility were considered, older targeted magazines covered morbidity rates more often than did younger women’s magazines, and they also mentioned older age as a risk factor significantly more often. Younger women are more likely than older women to have abnormal cell growth, a condition often found to be pre- cancerous (ACS, 2002). Magazines targeted to younger women however seldom mentioned this, which may cause younger women to feel less susceptible to invasive cervical cancer. It is critical that younger women understand that other women in their age group do in fact develop cervical cancer, particularly if pap tests are not obtained or abnormal cell growths are not quickly treated. Comparisons between the component categories under self-efficacy revealed that describing pap smears in a positive or neutral way was addressed significantly more often by magazines targeting older women than magazines targeting younger women. This category was labeled as potentially enhancing feelings of self-efficacy because it could help to reduce fears and apprehension associated with obtaining a pap test by thoroughly explaining the procedure. Since nervousness and pain associated with the procedure has been named as barriers to obtaining a pap test, describing the procedure in a positive or at least neutral light would likely enhance self-efficacy and younger targeted magazines never included such messages (Burak & Meyer, 1997). If women know what will happen, they will be less likely to fear the visit and feel more able to act on the recommended response. Such descriptions might be especially crucial for younger women who have never had a pap test, yet this was never addressed in younger targeted magazines. Also under self-efficacy, the analyses indicated that older targeted

Authors: Brown, Colleen. and Lewis, Melissa.
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Cervical Cancer 22
than in older women, but no less important, particularly if younger women feel less susceptible
but are at risk due to sexual activity and/or irregular pap screenings (ACS, 2002).
When the component categories under susceptibility were considered, older targeted
magazines covered morbidity rates more often than did younger women’s magazines, and they
also mentioned older age as a risk factor significantly more often. Younger women are more
likely than older women to have abnormal cell growth, a condition often found to be pre-
cancerous (ACS, 2002). Magazines targeted to younger women however seldom mentioned this,
which may cause younger women to feel less susceptible to invasive cervical cancer. It is
critical that younger women understand that other women in their age group do in fact develop
cervical cancer, particularly if pap tests are not obtained or abnormal cell growths are not quickly
treated.
Comparisons between the component categories under self-efficacy revealed that
describing pap smears in a positive or neutral way was addressed significantly more often by
magazines targeting older women than magazines targeting younger women. This category was
labeled as potentially enhancing feelings of self-efficacy because it could help to reduce fears
and apprehension associated with obtaining a pap test by thoroughly explaining the procedure.
Since nervousness and pain associated with the procedure has been named as barriers to
obtaining a pap test, describing the procedure in a positive or at least neutral light would likely
enhance self-efficacy and younger targeted magazines never included such messages (Burak &
Meyer, 1997). If women know what will happen, they will be less likely to fear the visit and feel
more able to act on the recommended response. Such descriptions might be especially crucial
for younger women who have never had a pap test, yet this was never addressed in younger
targeted magazines. Also under self-efficacy, the analyses indicated that older targeted


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