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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 3 simply forgetting as reasons for failure to seek a pap test (Kowalski & Brown, 1994; Burak & Meyer, 1997). Hill, Gardner, and Rassaby (1985) found that lack of time and money were also barriers to having a pap test, and that these barriers were significantly related to past behavior and future intention regarding pap tests. Given that many of these barriers could be overcome with correct information regarding cervical cancer risks and the benefits of regular pap tests, it is important to examine the various places women receive cancer and sexual-health related information. The public regularly turns to media sources for such health information (Gaziano & Horowitz, 2001). A 1997 Kaiser Family Foundation Survey found that 75% of all men and women report that magazines are an important source of sexual-related health information (as cited in Walsh-Childers, 1997). A study conducted by EDK Associates stated that 53% of the women surveyed depended on the media as their principal source of health information, with nearly 20% reporting that magazines were their number one source for health information (Stein, 1997). Johnson and Meischke (1993) stated that, indeed, women rate women’s magazines as more useful sources for cancer- related information than television and newspapers. Since women’s magazines play such a vital role in disseminating cancer-related information for women, it is important to study whether the information presented is useful. The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which six of the highest circulated women’s magazines provide messages about cervical cancer that, according to Witte’s (1992) extended parallel process model (EPPM), would prompt women to not only understand their risks for developing cervical cancer, but also feel able to respond to the threat by seeking effective detection tests. Magazine articles were content analyzed to determine if the articles presented a balance of messages that could increase readers’ perceptions of severity of the

Authors: Brown, Colleen. and Lewis, Melissa.
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Cervical Cancer 3
simply forgetting as reasons for failure to seek a pap test (Kowalski & Brown, 1994; Burak &
Meyer, 1997). Hill, Gardner, and Rassaby (1985) found that lack of time and money were also
barriers to having a pap test, and that these barriers were significantly related to past behavior
and future intention regarding pap tests.
Given that many of these barriers could be overcome with correct information regarding
cervical cancer risks and the benefits of regular pap tests, it is important to examine the various
places women receive cancer and sexual-health related information. The public regularly turns
to media sources for such health information (Gaziano & Horowitz, 2001). A 1997 Kaiser
Family Foundation Survey found that 75% of all men and women report that magazines are an
important source of sexual-related health information (as cited in Walsh-Childers, 1997). A
study conducted by EDK Associates stated that 53% of the women surveyed depended on the
media as their principal source of health information, with nearly 20% reporting that magazines
were their number one source for health information (Stein, 1997). Johnson and Meischke
(1993) stated that, indeed, women rate women’s magazines as more useful sources for cancer-
related information than television and newspapers. Since women’s magazines play such a vital
role in disseminating cancer-related information for women, it is important to study whether the
information presented is useful.
The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which six of the highest circulated
women’s magazines provide messages about cervical cancer that, according to Witte’s (1992)
extended parallel process model (EPPM), would prompt women to not only understand their
risks for developing cervical cancer, but also feel able to respond to the threat by seeking
effective detection tests. Magazine articles were content analyzed to determine if the articles
presented a balance of messages that could increase readers’ perceptions of severity of the


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