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Biomedical Literacy in the United States: Exploring the borderland between science and citizenship
Unformatted Document Text:  12 to biomedical literacy, this result suggests that these two factors cancel each other in the absence of overt mobilization efforts designed to address this interaction in the effect of age. DISCUSSION The metaphor of the border is useful in thinking about how issue interest and substantive knowledge interact to produce actual political behaviors by American adults. There are various kinds of borders – fixed, armed, open, vague, overlapping, and unexplored. There are different kinds of borders between general citizenship attitudes and substantive knowledge about specific issues. The first model provided empirical estimates of the relative influence of background variables (age, gender, and education), current attitudes (general political interest), and recent communication behaviors (the use of subject-relevant media) on the development of biomedical literacy and attentiveness to biomedical policy issues. Although the cross-sectional results from this model suggest that biomedical literacy and biomedical attentiveness spring from largely difference sources, reflection on the likely relationship between biomedical literacy and biomedical attentiveness over a period of years would suggest a more open and overlapping border than the cross-sectional model implies. It is reasonable to expect that an individual who becomes attentive to biomedical policy issues and who is not biomedically literate may seek additional information and understanding about biomedical subjects. Johnson’s (1997) study of the information seeking behaviors of newly diagnosed cancer patients illustrates how a new interest in biomedical policy (Is the government providing enough money for cancer research?) can drive concrete information seeking behaviors that may result in a higher level of biomedical literacy. Conversely, an individual who is biomedically literate and who follows biomedical research reports regularly may find the he or she becomes increasingly unhappy with current government policies on the funding and regulation of biomedical research. This individual who has been following biomedical

Authors: Miller, Jon. and Kimmel, Linda.
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to biomedical literacy, this result suggests that these two factors cancel each other in the absence of overt
mobilization efforts designed to address this interaction in the effect of age.
DISCUSSION
The metaphor of the border is useful in thinking about how issue interest and substantive
knowledge interact to produce actual political behaviors by American adults. There are various kinds of
borders – fixed, armed, open, vague, overlapping, and unexplored. There are different kinds of borders
between general citizenship attitudes and substantive knowledge about specific issues.
The first model provided empirical estimates of the relative influence of background variables
(age, gender, and education), current attitudes (general political interest), and recent communication
behaviors (the use of subject-relevant media) on the development of biomedical literacy and attentiveness
to biomedical policy issues. Although the cross-sectional results from this model suggest that biomedical
literacy and biomedical attentiveness spring from largely difference sources, reflection on the likely
relationship between biomedical literacy and biomedical attentiveness over a period of years would
suggest a more open and overlapping border than the cross-sectional model implies. It is reasonable to
expect that an individual who becomes attentive to biomedical policy issues and who is not biomedically
literate may seek additional information and understanding about biomedical subjects. Johnson’s (1997)
study of the information seeking behaviors of newly diagnosed cancer patients illustrates how a new
interest in biomedical policy (Is the government providing enough money for cancer research?) can drive
concrete information seeking behaviors that may result in a higher level of biomedical literacy.
Conversely, an individual who is biomedically literate and who follows biomedical research reports
regularly may find the he or she becomes increasingly unhappy with current government policies on the
funding and regulation of biomedical research. This individual who has been following biomedical


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