A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota collected data to determine how mass media exposure affects patients’ health beliefs and their likelihood to follow medication regimens.
Adhering to medication regimens is completely dependent on the patient; therefore, their beliefs are crucial for treatment success. With “Approximately $290 billion of annual total healthcare expenditures in the United States was linked to medication non-adherence,” researchers were interested to see if the media is playing a part in this crisis. (New England Healthcare Institute, 2009).
The cross-sectional study was conducted through an online survey and included 240 participants 45-80 years of age. The different media types accounted for include newspapers, TV, magazines, radio, and internet. The study focused on patients who were currently adhering to a blood thinner regimen; therefore, non-adherence would not cause any urgent risk to participant’s health.
The study found a negative relationship between the frequency of media exposure and a patient’s adherence to their medication regimen. Patients who seek a healthcare professional as their primary source for medical information are more likely to have a positive outlook on their health and follow their medication regimen properly. This is likely because mass media is infiltrated with confusing and contradictory information that does not come from healthcare professionals.
To read the full text of this study:
Im, H., & Huh, J. (2017). Does Health Information in Mass Media Help or Hurt Patients? Investigation of Potential Negative Influence of Mass Media Health Information on Patients’ Beliefs and Medication Regimen Adherence. Journal of Health Communication, 22(3), 214–222.