Navigation Links
Media coverage affects how people perceive threat of disease: study
Date:10/29/2008

Hamilton, ON. October 29, 2008 Popular media coverage of infectious diseases greatly influences how people perceive those diseases, making them seem more dangerous, according to a new study from McMaster University.

The research, published online in the Public Library of Science: ONE, suggests diseases that show up frequently in the print media like bird flu are considered more serious than similar diseases that do not receive the same kind of coverage, such as yellow fever.

"The media tend to focus on rare and dramatic events," says Meredith Young, one of the study's lead authors and a graduate student in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour. "When a certain disease receives repeated coverage in the press, people tend to focus on it and perceive it as a real threat. This raises concerns regarding how people view their own health, how they truly understand disease and how they treat themselves."

Researchers chose 10 infectious diseases drawn from the Centre for Disease Control database. Five were medical disorders that have been highly prevalent in the recent print media anthrax, SARS, West Nile virus, Lyme disease and avian flu and five were medical disorders that have not often been present in current media: Tularemia, human babesiosis, yellow fever, Lassa fever and hantavirus.

Two groups of students, undergraduate and medical students, were asked to rate how serious, how prevalent, and how "disease-like" various conditions were.

"We see that a single incident reported in the media, can cause great public concern if it is interpreted to mean that the potential risk is difficult to control, as with the possibility of a pandemic like in the case of Avian flu, and bioterrorism, as in the case of anthrax infection," says Young.

Conversely, when participants were presented with the descriptions of the disease, without the name, they actually thought that the diseases which received infrequent media coverage the control group were actually worse.

"Another interesting aspect of the study is when we presented factual information about the diseases along with the names of them, the media effect wasn't nearly as strong," says Karin Humphreys, one of the study's authors and assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour. "This suggests that people can overcome the influence of the media when you give them the facts, and so objective reporting is really critical."

Equally surprising, says Humphreys, is the fact that the medical students who would have more factual knowledge about these diseases were just as influenced by the media, despite their background.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michelle Donovan
donovam@mcmaster.ca
905-525-9140
McMaster University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. AUDIO from Medialink and Radica: Staying Sharp with Games for Your Brain
2. AUDIO from Medialink and Kelloggs: Whats in Your Water?
3. AUDIO from Medialink and Commit Lozenge: Wanna Quit Smoking With Therapeutic Nicotine? Just Follow the Directions
4. AUDIO from Medialink and Pfizer: Number of Uninsured Americans Grows to 47 Million
5. Justice Department to Hold Media Event to Demonstrate New Database for Matching Unidentified Remains and Missing Persons Information
6. Weiner Public News First Media Team at National Press Club 5K
7. VIDEO from Medialink and General Motors: On and Off the Track
8. HealthMedia Revolution Explodes in Second Quarter
9. AUDIO from Medialink and Pfizer: Prescription for Safer Drugs Discussed in Washington
10. AUDIO from Medialink and Allergan: Women Not Sure Who to Trust on Anti-Aging Skin Care
11. AUDIO from Medialink and Pfizer: A New Prescription for Safer Drugs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:7/28/2017)... ... ... one of the original Sharks from hit reality series Shark Tank, and the Product Managers ... Real Earth. , Most people put their healthcare above their skincare, but the fact is ... in our bodies. After all, the skin is the largest organ which is why it’s ...
(Date:7/28/2017)... ... 28, 2017 , ... As many parents, students, and teachers are getting ready ... mental acuity and address mental fatigue that can accompany long study hours, homework sessions, ... can not only helps with school work but also in day-to-day functions on the ...
(Date:7/28/2017)... ... July 28, 2017 , ... Lundquist Insurance Services, ... business owners and families across east Texas, is embarking on a charity event ... greater Dallas area. , America’s Mighty Warriors offers a series of programs for ...
(Date:7/28/2017)... ... July 28, 2017 , ... Shamanic Teacher Anahata Ananda of ... is proud to announce the return of her increasingly popular “Shamanic Wisdom ... more about the mystical world of shamanism, nature wisdom, the medicine wheel, energy ...
(Date:7/27/2017)... ... July 27, 2017 , ... ... American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry (ABOI/ID). After successfully completing an extensive two-day ... providers of dental implants . Dr. Kimowitz and his partner Dr. Hal ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:7/14/2017)... DUBLIN , July 14, 2017 Endo International plc ... results on Tuesday, August 8, 2017.  Members of its senior management ... financial markets open at 8:30 a.m. ET. The ... (866) 497-0462, International (678) 509-7598, and the passcode is 45397076. ... A replay of the ...
(Date:7/12/2017)... LOS ANGELES , July 12, 2017 CarpalAID is ... without drugs, braces or surgery. Carpal tunnel syndrome affects ... tunnel syndrome at twice the rate of men. The common methods ... steroids, or mobilization with uncomfortable hand braces or gloves. ... CarpalAID is a ...
(Date:7/11/2017)... , July 11, 2017  Sysmex America, Inc., ... diagnostic testing equipment as well as middleware information ... way to make quality assurance easier and more ... is well known for the innovation that it ... Monitor elevates quality assurance processes to a new ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: