Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that previous exposure to inconsistent health information reduces acceptance of the widely recommended health behavioral message.
Today’s public relations environment features conflicting information on a wide range of health topics, including nutrition, cancer screening, e-cigarettes, and more recently COVID-19. Studies show that exposure to conflicting information can adversely affect public understanding and confidence in health recommendations.
What is not known is that such exposure reduces people’s acceptance of other health messages, including messages about widely recommended health behaviors with little conflict, such as fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity. Is there a possibility of letting you do it? The possibility of such a “carry-over effect” due to exposure to conflicting information has recently been tested by an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Minnesota.
Published in the journal Annual report of behavioral medicineIn the U of M study, a three-wave online study was conducted in the summer of 2020 using a representative sample of approximately 3,000 US adults. Participants were randomly assigned to view a series of health news articles and social media posts on six different health. Topics such as mammography screening and carbohydrate consumption.With these stories PostIt was shown to participants twice in a month, except whether it was characterized by a conflict over scientific evidence or guidance. At least a week after the second viewing, participants evaluated ads for several recent health campaigns on behaviors with broad scientific consensus, including fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and colorectal cancer screening. I was asked to do it.
The results showed that previous exposure to conflicting health information made people less acceptable. message About these widely recommended health behaviors.
Previously in conflict reported that they were more reluctant to advertise their health campaigns and were less aware of the health behaviors featured in those ads.
Statistical analysis showed that the carry-over effect was primarily driven by people’s repulsion towards health recommendations and research in general, caused by previous conflict exposures.
“These results are of particular concern, especially given the context of COVID-19 information, which is increasingly filled with seemingly contradictory science, as past studies by our team have shown.” Rebekah Nagler, Research Leader and Associate Professor at Hubbard Journalism Mass School, said. Communication, and members of the Freemasonry Cancer Center. “Ultimately, people’s cumulative and routine exposure to inconsistent information about COVID-19 and other health issues can threaten the success of media campaigns and other public health messaging strategies. disease.”
Nagler and her colleagues are now thinking about ways to intervene and interrupt the carryover phenomenon and better communicate with the general public about evolving science.
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University of Minnesota
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