Kasisomayajula Viswanath

University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (169)421 Total impact

  • Cabral A Bigman · Rebekah H Nagler · K Viswanath
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    ABSTRACT: As countries implement Article 11 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, graphic warning labels that use images of people and their body parts to illustrate the consequences of smoking are being added to cigarette packs. According to exemplification theory, these case examples-exemplars-can shape perceptions about risk and may resonate differently among demographic subpopulations. Drawing on data from eight focus groups (N = 63) with smokers and nonsmokers from vulnerable populations, this qualitative study explores whether people considered exemplars in their reactions to and evaluations of U.S. graphic health warning labels initially proposed by the Food and Drug Administration. Participants made reference to prior and concurrent mass media messages and exemplars during the focus groups and used demographic cues in making sense of the images on the warning labels. Participants were particularly sensitive to age of the exemplars and how it might affect label effectiveness and beliefs about smoking. Race and socioeconomic status also were salient for some participants. We recommend that exemplars and exemplification be considered when selecting and evaluating graphic health warnings for tobacco labels and associated media campaigns.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Health Communication
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    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016
  • McCauley MP · Ramanadhan S · Viswanath K
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    ABSTRACT: This study demonstrates a novel approach that those engaged in promoting social change in health can use to analyze community power, mobilize it and enhance community capacity to reduce health inequalities. We used community reconnaissance methods to select and interview 33 participants from six leadership sectors in ‘Milltown’, the New England city where the study was conducted. We used UCINET network analysis software to assess the structure of local leadership and NVivo qualitative software to analyze leaders’ views on public health and health inequalities. Our main analyses showed that community power is distributed unequally in Milltown, with our network of 33 divided into an older, largely male and more powerful group, and a younger, largely female group with many ‘grassroots’ sector leaders who focus on reducing health inequalities. Ancillary network analyses showed that grassroots leaders comprise a self-referential cluster that could benefit from greater affiliation with leaders from other sectors and identified leaders who may serve as leverage points in our overall program of public agenda change to address health inequalities. Our innovative approach provides public health practitioners with a method for assessing community leaders’ views, understanding subgroup divides and mobilizing leaders who may be helpful in reducing health inequalities.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Health Education Research
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    Elena Savoia · Michael A Stoto · Rahul Gupta · Nasandra Wright · Kasisomayajula Viswanath
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · BMC Public Health
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    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Public Health Reports
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    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015
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    Cissy Ss Soong · Man Ping Wang · Moses Mui · Kasisomayajula Viswanath · Tai Hing Lam · Sophia Sc Chan
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    ABSTRACT: Background: A principal factor in maintaining positive family functioning and well-being, family communication time is decreasing in modern societies such as Hong Kong, where long working hours and indulgent use of information technology are typical.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015
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    Jing Chen · Man-Ping Wang · Xin Wang · Kasisomayajula Viswanath · Tai-Hing Lam · Sophia S Chan
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · BMJ Open
  • Man Ping Wang · Joanna Tw Chu · Kasisomayajula Viswanath · Alice Wan · Tai Hing Lam · Sophia S Chan
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    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.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Medical Internet Research
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Vaccines

  • No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Public Health Reports
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    Carina K Y Chan · Brian Oldenburg · Kasisomayajula Viswanath
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · International Journal of Behavioral Medicine
  • Minsoo Jung · Leesa Lin · Kasisomayajula Viswanath
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    ABSTRACT: While several studies have examined the crucial role that parents' vaccination behaviors play in reducing disease spread and severity among children, few have evaluated the connection between parents' media use and their decision on whether or not to vaccinate their child, specifically in relation to the BCG (Bacillus Calmetter Guerin), DPT (Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus) polio, and measles vaccines. Media channels are a critical source of health information for parents, which is especially true in Sub-Saharan Africa, as there is often a dearth of local healthcare providers. The aim of this paper is to investigate the role that media use plays in a mothers' choice to vaccinate their infant children in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically focusing on whether media use is associated with socioeconomic status (SES) and a mothers' vaccination of their children. Cross-sectional data from the Demographic Health Surveys of 13 sub-Saharan countries (2004-2010) were pooled. A multivariate Poisson regression of 151,209 women was used to calculate adjusted relative ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the associations among SES, media use, and immunization. Education and wealth were found to be strongly and positively associated with vaccine-uptake behaviors. The effects of media use (radio and television) were found to be associated with the relationships between SES and vaccine uptake. However, it did not reduce the impact of SES on vaccination. These findings indicate that mass media may be an important tool for future efforts to reduce the health discrepancies between children from high- and low-socioeconomic backgrounds. Going forward, immunization strategies should include communication plans that will address and mitigate potential immunization disparities among parents of different SES backgrounds. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Vaccine
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    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.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of School Health
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    ABSTRACT: Combustible tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), which include e-cigarettes, are devices capable of delivering nicotine in an aerosolized form. ENDS use by both adults and youth has increased rapidly, and some have advocated these products could serve as harm-reduction devices and smoking cessation aids. ENDS may be beneficial if they reduce smoking rates or prevent or reduce the known adverse health effects of smoking. However, ENDS may also be harmful, particularly to youth, if they increase the likelihood that nonsmokers or formers smokers will use combustible tobacco products or if they discourage smokers from quitting. The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recognize the potential ENDS have to alter patterns of tobacco use and affect the public's health; however, definitive data are lacking. AACR and ASCO recommend additional research on these devices, including assessing the health impacts of ENDS, understanding patterns of ENDS use, and determining what role ENDS have in cessation. Key policy recommendations include supporting federal, state, and local regulation of ENDS; requiring manufacturers to register with the FDA and report all product ingredients, requiring childproof caps on ENDS liquids, and including warning labels on products and their advertisements; prohibiting youth-oriented marketing and sales; prohibiting child-friendly ENDS flavors; and prohibiting ENDS use in places where cigarette smoking is prohibited. Clin Cancer Res; 21(3); 1-12. ©2015 AACR. American Association for Cancer Research and American Society of Clinical Oncology. ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research and American Society of Clinical Oncology.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Clinical Cancer Research
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    Yulin Hswen · Kasisomayajula Viswanath

    Preview · Article · Jan 2015

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Public Health Reports
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    Danielle Blanch-Hartigan · Kasisomayajula Viswanath
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Health Communication
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    ABSTRACT: In 2006, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended HIV testing for all adolescents and adults aged 13 to 64 in health care settings with a HIV prevalence of at least 0.1%. However, 55% of US adults have never been tested and therefore do not know their HIV status. To understand suboptimal HIV testing rates, this study sought to illuminate interpersonal and intrapersonal physician barriers to HIV testing. One hundred and eighty physicians from health centers in Houston completed a survey based on Cabana's Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors model. One-third of the physicians faced at least 1 interpersonal barrier to HIV testing, such as a difference in age or language. Many (41%) physicians faced at least 1 intrapersonal barrier, such as believing their patients would be feeling uncomfortable discussing HIV. Notably, 71% of physicians would prefer their patients ask for the test. A patient-engaging campaign may be an innovative solution to increasing HIV testing and reducing the number of undiagnosed persons. © The Author(s) 2014.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care
  • Leesa Lin · Rachel Faulkenberry · Minsoo Jung · K. Viswanath
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    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.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Nov 2014

Publication Stats

3k Citations
421.00 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • University of Massachusetts Boston
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2008-2015
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2005-2015
    • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
      • • Center for Community-Based Research
      • • Department of Medical Oncology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2006-2014
    • Harvard Medical School
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2010
    • University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
      Houston, Texas, United States
  • 2009
    • Emory University
      • Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education
      Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 2007
    • Massachusetts Department of Public Health
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2004
    • National Cancer Institute (USA)
      • Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
      베서스다, Maryland, United States
  • 1990-2000
    • The Ohio State University
      Columbus, Ohio, United States
  • 1993
    • University of Kentucky
      Lexington, Kentucky, United States
  • 1991-1992
    • University of Minnesota Duluth
      • Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
      Duluth, Minnesota, United States