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:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... its strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader providing predictive analytics ... proprietary technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Battle Creek, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... abuse, joined as sponsor of the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table ... held in honor of the city’s history as home to some of the world’s ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Clarkston, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 ... ... respect to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need ... but they also require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX users ... - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over 1,300 ... Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media or ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, ... Bronze Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in ... the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... HOUSTON , June 23, 2016  MedSource ... platform as its e-clinical software solution of choice.  ... the best possible value to their clients by ... nowEDC.  The preferred relationship establishes nowEDC as the ... pricing for MedSource,s full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... by Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), Inorganic Chemical), ... Parenteral) - Global Forecast to 2021" report to ... The global pharmaceutical excipients market is projected to reach ... 6.1% in the forecast period 2016 to 2021. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... MEMS Devices Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to 2022" ... The report contains up to date financial data ... analysis. Assessment of major trends with potential impact on the ... analysis of market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, regional ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: