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Biomedical Literacy in the United States: Exploring the borderland between science and citizenship
Unformatted Document Text:  10 than younger adults, holding constant the other factors in the model. At the same time, the total effect of age on biomedical literacy is -.29, indicating that older adults are significantly less likely to be biomedically literate that younger adults. The general fit of the model was very good. The model had 17.3 chi-squares with 12 degrees of freedom. The Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) was .015. A MODEL TO PREDICT POLITICAL CONTACTING Having examined the factors that contribute to biomedical literacy and attentiveness to biomedical policy, it is important to ask about the consequences of these two constructs on participation in the formulation of biomedical policy. While some issues may be resolved by elections, many issues are resolved outside of the electoral arena. Rosenau (1974) made a compelling case for this process in regard to foreign policy, and Miller and others have made similar arguments for issues involving science and technology policy (Miller, 1983a, 1995; Miller, Pardo, and Niwa, 1997; Miller and Pardo, 2000). For “politics between elections,” in Rosenau’s terms, the primary political activity is citizen contacting of public officials about a specific issue, usually urging support or opposition to a specific piece of legislation or executive action. In the American congressional form of government, legislative committees have acquired ever greater powers in this era of political specialization. One of the functions of interest groups is to identify citizens in those districts or states represented on specific legislative committees and to mobilize these citizens to write, petition, or e-mail their wishes to their legislator. The growth of access to e-mail at home and work has made this process markedly easier, and the Congressional system is still trying to determine how to cope with the accelerating volume of electronic issue-related messages. For the purposes of this analysis, however, the issue is how biomedical literacy and attentiveness to biomedical policy combine to inform us about specific political contacting behaviors on a health or biomedical issue. Fortunately, all of the respondents to the 1999 Science and Engineering Indicators

Authors: Miller, Jon. and Kimmel, Linda.
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than younger adults, holding constant the other factors in the model. At the same time, the total effect of
age on biomedical literacy is -.29, indicating that older adults are significantly less likely to be
biomedically literate that younger adults.
The general fit of the model was very good. The model had 17.3 chi-squares with 12 degrees of
freedom. The Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) was .015.
A MODEL TO PREDICT POLITICAL CONTACTING
Having examined the factors that contribute to biomedical literacy and attentiveness to
biomedical policy, it is important to ask about the consequences of these two constructs on participation
in the formulation of biomedical policy. While some issues may be resolved by elections, many issues are
resolved outside of the electoral arena. Rosenau (1974) made a compelling case for this process in regard
to foreign policy, and Miller and others have made similar arguments for issues involving science and
technology policy (Miller, 1983a, 1995; Miller, Pardo, and Niwa, 1997; Miller and Pardo, 2000).
For “politics between elections,” in Rosenau’s terms, the primary political activity is citizen
contacting of public officials about a specific issue, usually urging support or opposition to a specific
piece of legislation or executive action. In the American congressional form of government, legislative
committees have acquired ever greater powers in this era of political specialization. One of the functions
of interest groups is to identify citizens in those districts or states represented on specific legislative
committees and to mobilize these citizens to write, petition, or e-mail their wishes to their legislator. The
growth of access to e-mail at home and work has made this process markedly easier, and the
Congressional system is still trying to determine how to cope with the accelerating volume of electronic
issue-related messages.
For the purposes of this analysis, however, the issue is how biomedical literacy and attentiveness
to biomedical policy combine to inform us about specific political contacting behaviors on a health or
biomedical issue. Fortunately, all of the respondents to the 1999 Science and Engineering Indicators


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