Testing Map Features Designed to Convey the Uncertainty of Cancer Risk: Insights Gained From Assessing Judgments of Information Adequacy and Communication Goals

Dolores J. Severtson

Barriers to communicating the uncertainty of environmental health risks include preferences for certain information and low numeracy. Map features designed to communicate the magnitude and uncertainty of estimated cancer risk from air pollution were tested among 826 participants to assess how map features influenced judgments of adequacy and the intended communication goals. An uncertain versus certain visual feature was judged as less adequate but met both communication goals and addressed numeracy barriers. Expressing relative risk using words communicated uncertainty and addressed numeracy barriers but was judged as highly inadequate. Risk communication and visual cognition concepts were applied to explain findings.



A comparative analysis of media reporting of perceived risks and benefits of genetically modified crops and foods in Kenyan and international newspapers

Christopher DeRosier, Iddisah Sulemana, Harvey S James Jr, Corinne Valdivia, William Folk, Randall D Smith

We empirically examine the reporting on biotechnology in Kenyan and international newspapers between 2010 and early 2014. We identify news articles that reported on biotechnology and analyze their use of words to determine whether there is a balance in the reporting of perceived risks and benefits. We also consider how the sources used in news articles and how the publication of the Séralini study of rats fed genetically modified maize affect the balance of reporting of perceived risks and benefits. We find that in Kenyan news reporting, more articles mention perceived benefits than risks, but when risks are mentioned, new articles contain more references to risks than to benefits. We also find that sources affect the reporting of perceived risks and benefits and that the Séralini study increased the likelihood that perceived risks are reported in Kenyan news reporting, but not in international newspapers.


In-group rationalizations of risk and indoor tanning: A textual analysis of an online forum

Nick Carcioppolo, Elena V. Chudnovskaya, Andrea Martinez Gonzalez, Tyler Stephan

Unlike other health behaviors, there does not appear to be a strong relationship between perceived skin cancer risk and reduction or cessation of indoor tanning bed use. This study seeks to address this inconsistency by determining how indoor tanning bed users rationalize skin cancer risk with their tanning behavior. Qualitative textual analysis of indoor tanning message board posts (N = 330) revealed varied perceptions of risk, including acknowledging the risk of indoor tanning; denying or downplaying risk, often citing perceived health benefits associated with tanning; blaming outside forces for cancer, such as lotion or genetics; and fatalistic beliefs about cancer. These results highlight the nuanced relationship between perceived skin cancer risk and indoor tanning bed use.


Informing Dissemination Research: A Content Analysis of U.S. Newspaper Coverage of Medical Nanotechnology News

Yulia A. Strekalova

This study examined nanomedicine coverage by the elite and regional U.S. newspapers. The study sought to study prevalent topics; examine time, risk and benefit, thematic and episodic, and societal and personal impact frames; and identify dominating overarching themes. Technology application and economic consequence were dominant topics, but contrary to the studies of other emerging technologies, regulations and moral issues were the least discussed topics for nanomedicine. A variety of data analytic techniques, including cluster analysis, were performed to analyze data. The analysis has identified three themes, Technology Prospects, High-Risk High-Reward, and Investment Costs, that dominated nanomedicine coverage.