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: 3.23). 01/2011; 6(1):e14550. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0014550
Source: PubMed


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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    • "Language is also found to be " a risk factor associated with adverse health outcomes " (Timmins 2010). Health-related communication is found to be patterned by language in a US nationwide study (Viswanath and Ackerson 2011). "
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    DESCRIPTION: This study identifies the dangers of multilingual work settings and assesses the risks.
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    • "Language is also found to be " a risk factor associated with adverse health outcomes " (Timmins 2010). Health-related communication is found to be patterned by language in a US nationwide study (Viswanath and Ackerson 2011). "

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    • "In 2012, 54% of Latinos used Spanishlanguage media on a regular or occasional basis (Statistica, 2013). Latinos are not only heavy radio users, they also report relying on radio as a source of health information (Anderson & Huerta, 1999; Calles-Escandon et al., 2009; Clayman et al., 2010; Ebel et al., 2006; Gombeski et al., 1982; Hu, Keller, & Fleming, 1988; Livingston, Minushkin, & Cohn, 2008; O'Malley, Kerner, & Johnson, 1999; Viswanath & Ackerson, 2011). Forty percent of Latinos report radio as one of their sources for health information, with this percentage slightly higher among those who are Spanish-dominant (Livingston et al., 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose. Spanish-dominant Latinos make up 13% of the U.S. population, and this group is poorer and faces multiple threats to health compared with the general population. Additionally, Spanish speakers face challenges accessing health information that is often not available in Spanish. This study provides a descriptive epidemiology of a unique, low-cost health information source: the longest-running U.S.-based Spanish-language call-in radio health education program. Method. From the universe of all calls 1999 to 2011, stratified random sampling yielded 1,237 analyzed calls, which were manually coded for caller sex, age, proxy status, and health concern. Descriptive statistics were used to examine basic demographics of callers and call topics overall and by sex and proxy caller status. Results. Among all calls, the top three call-generating health topics were specific symptoms/conditions, sexual/reproductive health, and gastrointestinal concerns. The top nine topics were consistent among women, men, and proxy callers; however, relative frequency of topics varied across groups. Nearly one quarter of calls were initiated on behalf of someone, generally a child, spouse or sibling, or parent. Sixty percent of callers were women; women made 70% of proxy calls. Conclusion. Understanding the differences in information seeking behaviors, information needs, and source preferences is important for determining where and how to disseminate health information and may help explain disparities in knowledge and health outcomes. The radio talk show format provides a uniquely personal, culturally sensitive channel for meeting health information needs of a vulnerable population while leveraging the cost-effectiveness and wide reach of a mass medium.
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