Race, Ethnicity, Language, Social Class, and Health Communication Inequalities: A Nationally-Representative Cross-Sectional Study

Center for Community-Based Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 01/2011; 6(1):e14550. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0014550
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT While mass media communications can be an important source of health information, there are substantial social disparities in health knowledge that may be related to media use. The purpose of this study is to investigate how the use of cancer-related health communications is patterned by race, ethnicity, language, and social class.
In a nationally-representative cross-sectional telephone survey, 5,187 U.S. adults provided information about demographic characteristics, cancer information seeking, and attention to and trust in health information from television, radio, newspaper, magazines, and the Internet. Cancer information seeking was lowest among Spanish-speaking Hispanics (odds ratio: 0.42; 95% confidence interval: 0.28-0.63) compared to non-Hispanic whites. Spanish-speaking Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanic whites to pay attention to (odds ratio: 3.10; 95% confidence interval: 2.07-4.66) and trust (odds ratio: 2.61; 95% confidence interval: 1.53-4.47) health messages from the radio. Non-Hispanic blacks were more likely than non-Hispanic whites to pay attention to (odds ratio: 2.39; 95% confidence interval: 1.88-3.04) and trust (odds ratio: 2.16; 95% confidence interval: 1.61-2.90) health messages on television. Those who were college graduates tended to pay more attention to health information from newspapers (odds ratio: 1.98; 95% confidence interval: 1.42-2.75), magazines (odds ratio: 1.86; 95% confidence interval: 1.32-2.60), and the Internet (odds ratio: 4.74; 95% confidence interval: 2.70-8.31) and had less trust in cancer-related health information from television (odds ratio: 0.44; 95% confidence interval: 0.32-0.62) and radio (odds ratio: 0.54; 95% confidence interval: 0.34-0.86) compared to those who were not high school graduates.
Health media use is patterned by race, ethnicity, language and social class. Providing greater access to and enhancing the quality of health media by taking into account factors associated with social determinants may contribute to addressing social disparities in health.

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Available from: Leland K Ackerson, Aug 19, 2015
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    • "Gaps in knowledge and information seeking, or communication inequalities, are more specifically defined as (1) differences among social groups in the generation, manipulation , and distribution of information at the group level, and (2) individual differences related to access, use, attention, retention, and the capacity to act on information (Viswanath & Emmons, 2006). Although communication inequalities can contribute to health disparities, communication may also hold promise as a pathway for tempering social determinants variables and relationships, we propose and test an expanded SIM (based on Kontos & Viswanath, 2011; Figure 1) to gain a greater understanding of the factors that contribute to disparities in cancer risk knowledge and information seeking. "
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