How Are Information Seeking, Scanning, and Processing Related to Beliefs About the Roles of Genetics and Behavior in Cancer Causation?

Erika A. Waters, Courtney Wheeler, Jada G. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding that cancer is caused by both genetic and behavioral risk factors is an important component of genomic literacy. However, a considerable percentage of people in the United States do not endorse such multifactorial beliefs. Using nationally representative cross-sectional data from the U.S. Health Information National Trends Survey (N = 2,529), we examined how information seeking, information scanning, and key information-processing characteristics were associated with endorsing a multifactorial model of cancer causation. Multifactorial beliefs about cancer were more common among respondents who engaged in cancer information scanning (p = .001), were motivated to process health information (p = .005), and reported a family history of cancer (p = .0002). Respondents who reported having previous negative information-seeking experiences had lower odds of endorsing multifactorial beliefs (p = .01). Multifactorial beliefs were not associated with cancer information seeking, trusting cancer information obtained from the Internet, trusting cancer information from a physician, self-efficacy for obtaining cancer information, numeracy, or being aware of direct-to-consumer genetic testing (ps >.05). Gaining additional understanding of how people access, process, and use health information will be critical for the continued development and dissemination of effective health communication interventions and for the further translation of genomics research to public health and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-15
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Volume21
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

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