Heart disease and colon cancer prevention beliefs and their association with information seeking and scanning

Shelly R. Hovick, Elisabeth Bigsby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite their understanding of the links between (a) information seeking and scanning and (b) health outcomes, researchers still know relatively little about the impact of information behaviors on people's disease-related beliefs and attitudes. The goal of this study was to validate findings linking information and health behaviors and to assess whether information seeking and scanning are associated with beliefs about the effectiveness of heart disease and colon cancer risk prevention behaviors (in regard to exercise, controlling one's diet to prevent overweight/obesity, and daily fruit and vegetable intake), as well as determine whether the effects of seeking versus scanning on these beliefs differ. Data from the Annenberg National Health Communication Survey were analyzed (N = 3,212). For colon cancer, significant main effects were detected for information scanning for each of the 3 beliefs assessed (p <.05). For heart disease, both information scanning and heart disease media exposure (p <.05) were associated with stronger beliefs. Information seeking was not associated with beliefs for either disease (p >.05). Our results suggest that disease-related cognitions and beliefs, which ultimately impact decisions to engage in prevention behaviors, may be influenced most by less purposeful forms of information acquisition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-84
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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