Staying abreast of breast cancer: Interplay of attention to media and interpersonal communication on Singaporean women’s breast cancer knowledge

TitleStaying abreast of breast cancer: Interplay of attention to media and interpersonal communication on Singaporean women’s breast cancer knowledge
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Lee, E. W. J., S. S. Ho, J. K. Chow, Y. Y. Wu, and Z. Yang
Affiliation (1st Author)Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Section or WGHealth Communication and Change Working Group
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeCHAT1a
Slot Code (Keyword)CHAT1a
Time of Session9:00-10:30
RoomCA124
Session TitleIdentifying Health Communication Effects: Message and Audience Attributes
Submission ID6285
Abstract

Breast cancer is a major health problem for women globally. In Singapore, breast cancer is the number one cancer among women with the highest mortality rate. With breast cancer being a fatal health problem that claims many lives, it is pertinent to understand some of the factors that may influence women’s intention to take preventive measures such as clinical breast examination or mammography. Past literature had highlighted the importance of knowledge as one of the precursors to healthy behavior. Many studies have thus focused on understanding the antecedents to boosting women’s knowledge level on breast cancer. There are a few objectives in this study. One of the objectives is to investigate the breast cancer knowledge level of Singaporean women and, specifically, to find out how knowledgeable they are about causes of breast cancer and options of preventive measures. A second objective is to understand the antecedents to factual knowledge. Specifically, this study will examine how attention to media (television, newspaper and the internet), interpersonal communication, and elaboration relate to knowledge. Using a nationally representative random digit dialing survey (n =802), results from this study shows that knowledge of breast cancer is low among Singaporean women aged between 30 and 70. A large percentage of women answered incorrectly when quizzed on basic questions on the risk factors associated with breast cancer. While women seemed to understand the need to go for mammography, data shows that many are unsure when it comes to the option of going for clinical breast examination. As for whether attention to media and interpersonal communication are significantly associated with knowledge, the results showed that women who read newspaper have a significantly higher factual knowledge as compared to those who paid attention to health news on TV and on the internet. The study also showed that the more women communicate with various individuals about breast cancer, the more knowledgeable they are. It was also found that women had higher factual breast cancer knowledge if they spent effort engaging in thinking and cognitive processing. This study will offer practical implications generated from the results. It will examine possible reasons why knowledge levels are low among Singapore women despite high media coverage of breast cancer. It will also discuss media strategies to help educate women about risk factors and possible preventive actions. This study will also suggest strategies on how to tap onto interpersonal communication networks in the local context and engage women in thinking about breast cancer.

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