Trusting information on cancer varies by source of information and political viewpoint

Jim P. Stimpson, Sungchul Park, Sandi L. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study investigated how trusting information on cancer varies by the source of information and political viewpoint. Methods: This study used cross-sectional survey data from the 2020 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). The study comprised a sample of 2949 adults 18 years and older. The outcome variable was measured by assessing respondents’ trust in cancer-related information from various sources, including religious organizations and leaders, government health agencies, charitable organizations, family or friends, and doctors. Political viewpoint was measured as liberal, moderate, and conservative. Multivariate linear probability models were estimated and adjusted for individual-level characteristics. Results: Multivariate analysis found that conservatives (73%, 95% CI = 68–78%) were significantly less likely to trust information on cancer from government health agencies compared to liberals (84%, 95% CI = 80–88%). There was no statistically significant difference in trusting government health agencies between liberals and moderates (80%, 95% CI = 76–84%). Both moderates (27%, 95% CI = 21–34%) and conservatives (34%, 95% CI = 29–39%) were more likely to trust information on cancer from religious organizations and leaders compared to liberals (19%, 95% CI = 13–24%). The relationship between political viewpoint and trust of doctors, family or friends, and charitable organizations were not statistically significant. Conclusion: Compared to liberals, conservatives are more likely to trust information on cancer from religious organizations and leaders and less likely to trust government health agencies when adjusting for other covariates. This finding emphasizes the role of political viewpoint in shaping individuals’ perceptions of information sources and cancer-related information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-184
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Consumer health information
  • Cross-sectional study
  • Politics
  • Trust
  • United States

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