by Michelle Guillemard
How does patients’ social media usage impact their interactions with healthcare professionals?
Patients reported feeling empowered and more assertive when using social media for health-related purposes, according to a study of 36 patients with chronic disease. In most cases, patients experienced opposition about their online activities from their healthcare professionals, though.
The research looked at how patients’ use of social media impacts their interactions with healthcare professionals. The study was published in Patient Education & Counseling (paid).
What can eye movement patterns tell us about message effectiveness?
People primarily viewed faces of people, as well as alcohol use cues and cryptic one-liners, in a study looking at eye movement patterns in response to anti-binge drinking messages. The participants spent less time and energy viewing the text components of the messages. The study was published in the journal Health Communication (paid).
Pamphlets vs online content – considerations from the Canadian health care context
Are pamphlets still useful for patient information and education when so much is available on the Internet? If so, what should be the relationship between print-based and online health information and education, and when should one modality take precedence over the other? The article was published in the Journal of Cancer Education (paid).
Health halo effects from product titles and nutrient content claims in protein bars
Nutrient content claims – low-fat, for example – encourage consumers to perceive foods as healthier in general – aka the ‘health halo effect’. This study, published in the journal Health Communication (paid), looked at whether the health halo effect was dependent on a content claim (a good source of protein) or the product title itself (protein bar). The product title increased overall perceptions of product healthfulness.
Facilitators and peers help promote weight loss in mobile health programs
Facilitators and peers enhance the efficacy of support group interventions, suggest a US research team who looked at the effects of mHealth interventions on sustainable behaviour change and weight loss, drawing on in-app user activity data and online survey data. The program used in the research was called Noom.
Anti-smoking messages and defensive responses
Anti-tobacco messages containing deception and disgust ‘push viewers into a cascade of defensive responses’, suggests research published in Health Communication (paid). In the experiment, participants watched anti-tobacco messages that varied in deception (content portraying tobacco companies as dishonest) and disgust (negative graphic images).
Language of uncertainty related to skin cancer prevention recommendations
Research published in the Journal of Cancer Education (paid) identified natural language indicators of uncertainty and showed that these indicators can serve as a predictor of decisional conflict.
The researchers suggest these natural indicators of uncertainty can ‘facilitate the monitoring of health consumer perceptions about cancer prevention recommendations and inform education and communication campaign planning and evaluation.’
Managing information about genetic cancer risk
Researchers used the Theory of Motivated Information Management (TMIM) to investigate how people at increased risk of developing hereditary cancer sought information from genetic counsellors. The research, published in Health Communication (paid), suggested that a patient’s emotional response to genetic disease risk may influence their information-seeking intentions.
Health literacy lessons from a South African province
Recent research conducted in South Africa looked at health literacy measures. While the researchers noted this population group would have marginal or limited health literacy, the team wanted to understand the knowledge levels and competence of individuals within these lower health literacy levels. The research was published in the Journal of Communication in Healthcare (paid).
“That Should Be Left to Doctors, That’s What They are There For!”
A qualitative study (paid) looked at the health information-seeking practices of healthy young adults and how they assess and rank sources of information. The results suggested those in the study are committed to searching online for health and lifestyle information.
However, the results also indicated health professionals were perceived as the most reliable source of information and that online health information was viewed as a potentially unreliable source.
Celebrity over science? An analysis of Lyme disease video content on YouTube
Public health education about Lyme disease can be improved, argue researchers who looked at lyme disease video content on YouTube. The researchers also pointed out that, of the millions of hours of Lyme disease content on YouTube, very little content is produced by academic or government agencies. The analysis was published in the journal Social Science & Medicine (paid)
The role of social media in promoting understanding of violence as a public health issue
A letter published in Health Communication offers a range of suggestions and considerations for a public health approach to violence prevention.