Moderating Effects of Media Exposure on Associations between Socioeconomic Position and Cancer Worry
- Citation data:
Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, ISSN: 1513-7368, Vol: 15, Issue: 14, Page: 5845-5851
- Publication Year:
- Medicine; Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; Psychology
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.