Average Household Exposure to Newspaper Coverage about the Harmful Effects of Hormone Therapy and Population-Based Declines in Hormone Therapy Use
Miglioretti, Diana L.
Buist, Diana S. M.
Nelson, David E.
Carney, Patricia A.
Breslau, Erica S.
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CitationHaas, Jennifer S., Diana L. Miglioretti, Berta Geller, Diana S. M. Buist, David E. Nelson, Karla Kerlikowske, Patricia A. Carney, Sarah Dash, Erica S. Breslau, and Rachel Ballard-Barbash. 2007. Average Household Exposure to Newspaper Coverage about the Harmful Effects of Hormone Therapy and Population-Based Declines in Hormone Therapy Use. Journal of General Internal Medicine 22(1): 68-73.
AbstractBackground: The news media facilitated the rapid dissemination of the findings from the estrogen plus progestin therapy arm of the Women’s Health Initiative (EPT-WHI). Objective: To examine the relationship between the potential exposure to newspaper coverage and subsequent hormone therapy (HT) use. Design/Population: Population-based cohort of women receiving mammography at 7 sites (327,144 postmenopausal women). Measurements: The outcome was the monthly prevalence of self-reported HT use. Circulation data for local, regional, and national newspapers was used to create zip-code level measures of the estimated average household exposure to newspaper coverage that reported the harmful effects of HT in July 2002. Results: Women had an average potential household exposure of 1.4 articles. There was substantial variation in the level of average household exposure to newspaper coverage; women from rural sites received less than women from urban sites. Use of HT declined for all average potential exposure groups after the publication of the EPT-WHI. HT prevalence among women who lived in areas where there was an average household exposure of at least 3 articles declined significantly more (45 to 27%) compared to women who lived in areas with <1 article (43 to 31%) during each of the subsequent 5 months (relative risks 0.86–0.92; p < .006 for all). Conclusions: Greater average household exposure to newspaper coverage about the harms associated with HT was associated with a large population-based decline in HT use. Further studies should examine whether media coverage directly influences the health behavior of individual women.
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