[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: On January 9(th) 2014, a faulty storage tank leaked 10,000 gal of an industrial coal processing liquid into the Elk River in West Virginia (WV), contaminating the drinking water of the nine counties collectively known as the Kanawha Valley. The aim of this study was to 1) explore how and when people obtained information about the water contamination and 2) understand how individual and social factors such as socio-demographic characteristics, timing of information, trust in government, and risk perception influenced compliance with recommended behaviours and the public's views on the need for environmental regulations.
Between February 7-26, 2014, a survey was conducted of adult residents of West Virginia including geographic areas affected and non-affected by the chemical spill. The total population-based sample size was 690 and the survey was administered online. Descriptive statistics and multivariate statistical models were created to determine what factors influenced compliance and public opinions.
Findings from this study show that, during the 2014 West Virginia water crisis, information about water contamination spread quickly, as 73 % of survey respondents across the state and 89 % within the affected counties reported they heard about the incident the same day it occurred. Most people received the information promptly, understood what happened, and understood what to do to prevent exposure to the contaminant. The majority of respondents living in affected counties (70 %) followed the recommended behaviours. Among participants who voiced an opinion on the role of government in environmental regulations, the majority of respondents (54 %) reported there is "too little regulation."
Data from this study show that a higher perception of risk and timely receipt of information are associated with compliance with recommended behaviours, underlying the importance of releasing information to the public as quickly as possible during a crisis. This study also highlights the importance of coordinating risk communication activities beyond the area of the incident to assure public understanding of what measures are recommended, which are not and where.
BMC Public Health 12/2015; 15(1):790. DOI:10.1186/s12889-015-2134-2 · 2.26 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The evidence on the effect of secondhand smoke (SHS) on Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) is limited. We examined the relation between SHS and HRQoL among Chinese in Hong Kong.
Adult never smokers from a probability sample of three cross-sectional waves (2010, 2012, 2013) of The Hong Kong Family and Health Information Trends Survey who completed the Cantonese-version of Short-Form 12 Health Survey Questionnaire (SF12v2) were included in the data analysis conducted in 2014. Models were used to examine associations of SHS with SF12 domains and summary scores of Physical (PCS12) and Mental Component (MCS12) with subgroups analysis by SHS locations.
After adjustments, SHS was associated with lower scores on all SF12 domains except physical functioning. PCS12 (regress coefficient=-0.76, 95% CI -1.34 to -0.17) and MCS12 (regress coefficient=-1.35, 95% CI -2.06 to -0.64) were lower in those with SHS exposure than those non-exposed. Those exposed to SHS in outdoor public places had lower scores on most SF12 domains and PSC12 and MCS12. SHS exposure in one's home and workplace was associated with lower scores on role physical, body pain and role emotional while SHS exposure in friends' homes was additionally associated with lower social functioning and mental health scores. Lower MCS12 was associated with SHS exposure at all locations except one's home.
Our study showed that SHS exposure, particularly in outdoor public places, was associated with decreased HRQoL. It can provide new evidence for stronger smoke-free policies on public places and promoting smoke-free homes.
Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.
BMJ Open 09/2015; 5(9):e007694. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-007694 · 2.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Family communication is central to the family and its functioning. It is a mutual process in which family members create, share, and regulate meaning. Advancement and proliferation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) continues to change methods of family communication. However, little is known about the use of different methods for family communication and the influence on family well-being.
We investigated the sociodemographic factors associated with different methods of family communication and how they are associated with perceived family harmony, happiness, and health (3Hs) among Chinese adults in Hong Kong.
Data came from a territory-wide probability-based telephone survey using the Family and Health Information Trend survey (FHInTs). Frequency of family communication using different methods (ie, face-to-face, phone, instant messaging [IM], social media sites, and email) were recoded and classified as frequent (always/sometimes) and nonfrequent (seldom/never) use. Family well-being was measured using 3 questions of perceived family harmony, happiness, and health with higher scores indicating better family well-being. Adjusted odds ratios for family communication methods by sociodemographic characteristics and adjusted beta coefficients for family well-being by communication methods were calculated.
A total of 1502 adults were surveyed. Face-to-face (94.85%, 1408/1484) was the most frequent means of communication followed by phone (78.08%, 796/1484), IM (53.64%, 796/1484), social media sites (17.60%, 261/1484), and email (13.39%, 198/1484). Younger age was associated with the use of phone, IM, and social media sites for family communication. Higher educational attainment was associated with more frequent use of all modes of communication, whereas higher family income was only significantly associated with more frequent use of IM and email (P=.001). Face-to-face (beta 0.65, 95% CI 0.33-0.97) and phone use (beta 0.20, 95% CI 0.02-0.38) for family communication were associated with significantly higher levels of perceived family well-being.
Socioeconomic disparities in using these information and communication technologies (ICT) methods for family communication were observed. Although traditional methods remain as the main platform for family communication and were associated with better family well-being, a notable proportion of respondents are using new ICT methods, which were not associated with perceived family well-being. Because ICTs will continue to diversify modes of family communication, more research is needed to understand the impact of ICTs on family communication and well-being.
Journal of Medical Internet Research 08/2015; 17(8):e207. DOI:10.2196/jmir.4722 · 3.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding the heterogeneity of groups along the vaccine hesitancy continuum presents an opportunity to tailor and increase the impact of public engagement efforts with these groups. Audience segmentation can support these goals, as demonstrated here in the context of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine. In March 2010, we surveyed 1569 respondents, drawn from a nationally representative sample of American adults, with oversampling of racial/ethnic minorities and persons living below the United States Federal Poverty Level. Guided by the Structural Influence Model, we assessed knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to H1N1; communication outcomes; and social determinants. Among those who did not receive the vaccine (n = 1166), cluster analysis identified three vaccine-hesitant subgroups. Disengaged Skeptics (67%) were furthest from vaccine acceptance, with low levels of concern and engagement. The Informed Unconvinced (19%) were sophisticated consumers of media and health information who may not have been reached with information to motivate vaccination. OPEN ACCESS Vaccines 2015, 3 557 The Open to Persuasion cluster (14%) had the highest levels of concern and motivation and may have required engagement about vaccination broadly. There were significant sociodemographic differences between groups. This analysis highlights the potential to use segmentation techniques to identify subgroups on the vaccine hesitancy continuum and tailor public engagement efforts accordingly.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The enormous time lag between the discovery of new knowledge and its implementation poses a significant challenge to improving public health because of the very slow uptake into policy and practice. The field of dissemination and implementation research in behavioral medicine is receiving increased attention because of the keen interest in accelerating knowledge transfer from relevant research to improve the health and wellbeing of populations in many different settings, contexts, and countries around the world. This is particularly important in high-risk populations, resource-poor and developing regions of the world where the difference in health systems, languages, and cultures very significantly influences the translation of evidence into policy and practice. Moreover, demonstrating the broader societal and economic value of behavioral interventions in settings where they are implemented can further support the sustainability, uptake, and implementation of these findings in other settings and contexts. This special issue presents a series of empirical studies, reviews, and case studies that address dissemination, implementation, and translation issues in both developed and developing countries. Specifically, the learnings from the application of many and varied theories and research methodologies are very relevant for bridging the current division between research findings and their translation and uptake into policy and practice.
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 05/2015; 22(3). DOI:10.1007/s12529-015-9490-2 · 2.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND
We used a latent class analysis (LCA) to characterize coping styles of urban youth and examined if coping styles moderated the association between experiencing discrimination and bullying and depressive symptoms. METHODS
The data come from the 2006 Boston Youth Survey, where students were asked to select 2 behaviors they do most often when they are upset, from a list of 15 options. A total of 927 (75%) students contributed to the LCA analytic sample (44% non-Hispanic Blacks, 29% Hispanics, and 58% girls). Relative and absolute fit indices determined the number of classes. An interaction term between types of discrimination and bullying experienced and coping style tested for moderation. RESULTSThe LCA revealed that a 3-class solution had the best fit (Lo-Mendell-Rubin likelihood ratio test, 4-class vs 3-class, p-value .12). The largest coping style class was characterized by high endorsement of distractive coping strategies (59%), the second class was characterized by using supportive coping strategies (27%), and the third class was characterized by using avoidance coping strategies (12%). We found a significant interaction between discrimination and coping style for depressive symptoms. CONCLUSIONS
The relationship between experiencing discrimination and depression varied based on coping style and the type of discrimination and bullying experienced.
Journal of School Health 02/2015; 85(2):109-117. DOI:10.1111/josh.12225/abstract?campaign=woletoc · 1.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With 14 million cancer survivors in the United States, identifying and categorizing their use of sources of cancer-related information is vital for targeting effective communications to this growing population. In addition, recognizing socioeconomic and sociodemographic differences in the use of cancer-related information sources is a potential mechanism for reducing health disparities in survivorship. Fourteen sources of information survivors (N = 519) used for cancer-related information were factor-analyzed to create a taxonomy of source use. The association between social determinants and use of these source types was analyzed in regression models. Factor analysis revealed 5 categories of information source use (mass media; Internet and print; support organizations; family and friends; health care providers), and use varied based on sociodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Higher education predicted increased use of all source categories except mass media. African American cancer survivors turned to health care providers as a source for cancer-related information less often than did White survivors. Social determinants predicted differences in the type of cancer-related information sources used. Providers and health communicators should target communication platforms based on the demographic profile of specific survivor audiences.
Journal of Health Communication 12/2014; 20(2):1-7. DOI:10.1080/10810730.2014.921742 · 1.61 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies have shown communication inequalities - differences among individuals and social groups in accessing and using information on health and specific threats - have consequential impacts on people’s knowledge, emotions and behavior responses, and ultimately health outcomes. Without being properly addressed, these inequalities could result in leaks in the surveillance net and compromise public health systems’ efforts to prevent and respond to pandemic influenza outbreaks or other types of emergencies. Here we have investigated the role communication inequalities play during the 2009/2010 A(H1N1) pandemics focusing on the associations among people’s concerns about being infected by the A(H1N1) virus, levels of A(H1N1)-related knowledge, and the subsequent health behavioral responses. Using nationally-representative cross-sectional survey data collected during the 2009/2010 A(H1N1) pandemic among American adults, we conducted hierarchical ordered or general logistic regression analyses, whenever appropriate. We found a strong association persists between health behavioral and levels of concerns about the possibility of self or family members being infected by the A(H1N1) virus, even after adjustment for socioeconomic position. Specifically, concerns, general media exposure, and being Hispanic were positively associated with the uptake of hygienic practices, employment of social distancing, and seeking of medical consultation. Knowing the modes of transmission of A(H1N1) virus was also positively related to the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions. Therefore, carefully crafted health communication campaigns that raise the public sense of urgency to a proper level could help cue people to take actions to protect themselves and loved ones.
142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition 2014; 11/2014
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
Studies have shown that differences among individuals and social groups in accessing and using information on health and specific threats have an impact on their knowledge and behaviors. These differences, characterized as communication inequalities, may hamper the strength of a society's response to a public health emergency. Such inequalities not only make vulnerable populations subject to a disproportionate burden of adversity, but also compromise the public health system's efforts to prevent and respond to pandemic influenza outbreaks. We investigated the effect of socioeconomic status (SES) and health communication behaviors (including barriers) on people's knowledge and misconceptions about pandemic influenza A(H1N1) (pH1N1) and adoption of prevention behaviors.
The data for this study came from a survey of 1,569 respondents drawn from a nationally representative sample of American adults during pH1N1. We conducted logistic regression analyses when appropriate.
We found that (1) SES has a significant association with barriers to information access and processing, levels of pH1N1-related knowledge, and misconceptions; (2) levels of pH1N1-related knowledge are associated positively with the adoption of recommended prevention measures and negatively with the adoption of incorrect protective behaviors; and (3) people with higher SES, higher news exposure, and higher levels of pH1N1-related knowledge, as well as those who actively seek information, are less likely than their counterparts to adopt incorrect prevention behaviors.
Strategic public health communication efforts in public health preparedness and during emergencies should take into account potential communication inequalities and develop campaigns that reach across different social groups.
Public Health Reports 10/2014; 129 Suppl 4:49-60. · 1.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The HIV epidemic is an ongoing public health problem fueled, in part, by undertesting for HIV. When HIV-infected people learn their status, many of them decrease risky behaviors and begin therapy to decrease viral load, both of which prevent ongoing spread of HIV in the community. Some physicians face barriers to testing their patients for HIV and would rather their patients ask them for the HIV test. A campaign prompting patients to ask their physicians about HIV testing could increase testing. A mobile health (mHealth) campaign would be a low-cost, accessible solution to activate patients to take greater control of their health, especially populations at risk for HIV. This campaign could achieve Healthy People 2020 objectives: improve patient-physician communication, improve HIV testing, and increase use of mHealth. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print October 16, 2014: e1-e5. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302120).
American Journal of Public Health 10/2014; 104(12):e1-e5. DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302120 · 4.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection is highest among Black women and women of low socio economic position (SEP). These groups face inequities in access to health information on HPV.
Objectives: Our study sought to understand key information channels for delivering health information regarding HPV and the HPV vaccine to Black women of low SEP in Boston, Massachusetts. We anticipated that, owing to a legacy of experiences of discrimination, Black women of low SEP would prefer information from trusted and accessible sources, including friends, family, and community agencies, rather than clinical providers.
Methods: We conducted a qualitative analysis using focus groups. We conducted five focus groups among 25 women in Boston, Massachusetts.
Results: Contrary to what we anticipated, we found that women in all of the focus groups preferred to receive information from a physician or health center. Participants preferred to receive print materials they could triangulate with other sources. Notably, study participants had high access to care.
Conclusions: Our study suggests that physicians are trusted and preferred sources of information on HPV for Black women of low SEP in Boston. Our data underscore an important avenue for intervention: to improve dissemination of HPV-related information through physicians, including outreach in community settings.
Progress in Community Health Partnerships Research Education and Action 08/2014; 8(2):169-79. DOI:10.1353/cpr.2014.0019
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reducing fear of cancer is significant in developing cancer screening interventions, but the levels of fear may vary depending on the degrees of media exposure as well as individuals' socioeconomic positions (SEP). However, few studies have examined how the SEP influences the fear of cancer under the moderating process of general and specific forms of media exposure. We investigated the moderating effect of media exposure on the relationship between SEP and the level of fear of cancer by assuming that cancer knowledge is a covariate between those two. In particular, this study examined how exposure to both general and specific media changes the series of processes from SEP to fear of cancer. We conducted path analyses with three types of media - television, radio and the Internet- using data from a health communication survey of 613 adults in Massachusetts in the United States. We found that SEP influences cancer knowledge directly and fear of cancer indirectly, as moderated by the level of media exposure. Health-specific exposure, however, had a more consistent effect than general media exposure in lowering the fear of cancer by increasing knowledge about cancer. A higher level of health-specific exposure and greater amount of cancer knowledge lessened the fear of cancer. In addition, the more people were exposed to health information on television and the Internet, the lower the level of fear of cancer as a result. These findings indicate a relationship between SEP and fear of cancer, as moderated by the level and type of media exposure. Furthermore, the findings suggest that for early detection or cancer prevention strategies, health communication approaches through mass media need to be considered.
Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention: APJCP 07/2014; 15(14). DOI:10.7314/APJCP.2014.15.14.5845 · 2.51 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is known that HIV-related stigma hinders prevention efforts. Previous studies have documented that HIV-related stigma may be associated with socioeconomic and socioecological factors. Mass media use may moderate this association, but there is limited research addressing that possibility. In this study, based on cross-sectional data pooled from the 2006-2011 Demographic and Health Surveys of 11 sub-Saharan African countries (N = 204,343), we investigated the moderating effects of exposure to mass media on HIV-related stigma. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that HIV-related stigma tends to be higher among rural residents and individuals with low levels of education and HIV knowledge, as well as those who do not know people living with HIV. Media use was generally associated with low levels of HIV-related stigma, and attenuated the gap between individuals with high and low educational levels. However, the effect of mass media was found to be stronger among urbanites rather than among rural residents, which could lead to a widening gap between the two groups in endorsement of HIV-related stigma. The implication of this study regarding the effect of media use on HIV-related stigma in sub-Saharan Africa is twofold: 1) mass media may have the potential to minimize the gap in HIV-related stigma between individuals with high and low educational levels, and hence future efforts of reducing HIV-related stigma in the region may benefit from utilizing media; 2) due perhaps to low media penetration to rural sub-Saharan Africa, mass media could have the unintended effect of widening the urban-rural gap further unless other more customized and rural-focused communication interventions are put in place.
PLoS ONE 06/2014; 9(6). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0100467 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
During public health emergencies, public officials are busy in developing communication strategies to protect the population from existing or potential threats. However, a population's social and individual determinants (i.e. education, income, race/ethnicity) may lead to inequalities in individual or group-specific exposure to public health communication messages, and in the capacity to access, process, and act upon the information received by specific sub-groups- a concept defined as communication inequalities.The aims of this literature review are to: 1) characterize the scientific literature that examined issues related to communication to the public during the H1N1 pandemic, and 2) summarize the knowledge gained in our understanding of social determinants and their association with communication inequalities in the preparedness and response to an influenza pandemic.
Articles were searched in eight major communication, social sciences, and health and medical databases of scientific literature and reviewed by two independent reviewers by following the PRISMA guidelines. The selected articles were classified and analyzed in accordance with the Structural Influence Model of Public Health Emergency Preparedness Communications.
A total of 118 empirical studies were included for final review. Among them, 78% were population-based studies and 22% were articles that employed information environment analyses techniques. Consistent results were reported on the association between social determinants of communication inequalities and emergency preparedness outcomes. Trust in public officials and source of information, worry and levels of knowledge about the disease, and routine media exposure as well as information-seeking behaviors, were related to greater likelihood of adoption of recommended infection prevention practices. When addressed in communication interventions, these factors can increase the effectiveness of the response to pandemics.
Consistently across studies, a number of potential predictors of behavioral compliance to preventive recommendations during a pandemic were identified. Our findings show the need to include such evidence found in the development of future communication campaigns to ensure the highest rates of compliance with recommended protection measures and reduce communication inequalities during future emergencies.
BMC Public Health 05/2014; 14(1):484. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-14-484 · 2.26 Impact Factor