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Deficiencies vs. Differences: Predicting Older Women's Knowledge Levels on Breast Cancer
Unformatted Document Text:  7 individual media forms is not necessary. This study thus started with an examination of the overall media coverage on breast cancer during the period under study to assess the amount of breast cancer information out there. The classical knowledge gap hypothesis predicts a positive relationship between SES and knowledge levels. People with lower SES are supposed to be less efficient in acquiring information from the social system than their high-SES counterparts, and such “deficiency” in information processing accounts for their lower knowledge levels (Tichenor et al., 1970). Within the pool of knowledge gap studies, the most-often used indicator of SES is education, followed by income, and, in a few cases, occupation; some studies have combined two of these indicators or all three of them (Gaziano, 1997). According to Gaziano’s 1997 review, five studies reported education to be more related to knowledge than income, while two others found it to be the other way around. In all other cases, education and income yielded equivalent results. There are also studies that combined education, income and occupation into an index or SES defining variable, yet Frazier’s study (1986) found little difference in the predictive powers of the SES index versus education alone. Following the mainstream practice in the knowledge gap research, this study adopted education as the sole indicator of SES. Income was left out because such questions tend to have low response rates, and occupation could be difficult to code because respondents

Authors: Gao, Kun.
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individual media forms is not necessary. This study thus started with an examination of
the overall media coverage on breast cancer during the period under study to assess the
amount of breast cancer information out there.
The classical knowledge gap hypothesis predicts a positive relationship between SES and
knowledge levels. People with lower SES are supposed to be less efficient in acquiring
information from the social system than their high-SES counterparts, and such
“deficiency” in information processing accounts for their lower knowledge levels
(Tichenor et al., 1970).
Within the pool of knowledge gap studies, the most-often used indicator of SES is
education, followed by income, and, in a few cases, occupation; some studies have
combined two of these indicators or all three of them (Gaziano, 1997). According to
Gaziano’s 1997 review, five studies reported education to be more related to knowledge
than income, while two others found it to be the other way around. In all other cases,
education and income yielded equivalent results. There are also studies that combined
education, income and occupation into an index or SES defining variable, yet Frazier’s
study (1986) found little difference in the predictive powers of the SES index versus
education alone.
Following the mainstream practice in the knowledge gap research, this study adopted
education as the sole indicator of SES. Income was left out because such questions tend
to have low response rates, and occupation could be difficult to code because respondents


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