Social Media Engagement With Cancer Awareness Campaigns Declined During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

Emily K. Vraga, Jacek R. Radzikowski, Anthony Stefanidis, Arie Croitoru, Andrew T. Crooks, Paul L. Delamater, Dieter Pfoser, Kathryn H. Jacobsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cancer awareness campaigns compete with other health and social issues for public attention. We examined whether public engagement with breast cancer and prostate cancer declined in 2016 during the U.S. presidential election compared to 2015 on Twitter and Google Trends. We found that attention to breast cancer and prostate cancer declined in 2016 before the election as compared to 2015 in Twitter posts and Google searches. The findings suggest that cancer information seeking behavior, passive exposure to health communication, and active participation in social media about cancer all decreased during the peak weeks of the 2016 election season. Future health promotion initiatives and information dissemination efforts will benefit from monitoring the major issues garnering social media attention and then adjusting their timing or communication strategies to ensure that public engagement with their key policy messages remains strong when emerging news stories capture public interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-465
Number of pages10
JournalWorld Medical and Health Policy
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the provost’s Multidisciplinary Research Initiative at George Mason University. This paper analyzes publicly available data. Since no individuals were recruited for the study and this was therefore not human subjects research, the project was exempt from review by an institutional review board. Conflicts of Interest: None declared. Corresponding Author: Emily Vraga, evraga@gmu.edu

Keywords

  • breast cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • Twitter

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