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Irrational health beliefs, diabetes knowledge and media sources: Exploring the connections

Collaborated with: Dr. Ryan Hurley

This investigation aimed to explore irrational health beliefs about diabetes and the media sources that impact those beliefs. The following research questions were posed: RQ1: What cultural, IHBs do Hispanics and non-Hispanics hold about diabetes? RQ2: Will people who hold more IHBs be less likely to obtain or seek information about diabetes?  RQ3: What information sources do Hispanics and non-Hispanics use to get information about health and diabetes? A 37-item questionnaire conducted on campus and distributed on online through various venues including forums reaching individuals with diabetes. Results indicate that participants held a variety of IHBs; that a tendency to hold irrational beliefs was positively correlated to television, Facebook, twitter and newspapers; and, that participants used a variety of sources to obtain information about health and diabetes.


Irrational Health Beliefs and Diabetes : What young adults don’t know

Collaborated with: Dr. Elizabeth Craig

This study aimed to identify the beliefs, myths and misconceptions that young adults hold about diabetes. A survey instrument was administered at a campus in a large southern university and information was gathered regarding the participants’ knowledge of diabetes causes, diagnosis, treatment, and care, as well as the participants’ sources of information. The following hypothesis was posed: H: We will see differences in reported knowledge of beliefs, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of diabetes between individuals who have diabetes, those who know someone with diabetes, and individuals who neither have diabetes nor know someone who has diabetes. Findings indicate that young adults hold a variety of irrational health beliefs. A one-way ANOVA indicated a relationship between diabetes status and young adults’ beliefs about the diagnosis of diabetes. In addition, a two-tailed, bivariate, Spearman’s rho Pearson Coefficient correlation for the data revealed that there is a relationship between information sources and the participants’ knowledge about the causes of diabetes. Abstract submitted to the APHA Annual Meeting & Expo 2014




Irrational health beliefs and health myths: Dead wrong assumptions in the diabetes network

This study aimed to trace the existing online networks supporting the cultural irrational health belief, “diabetes is curable,” to determine how the IHB is spread and who are the intermediaries and mediators in the process. To accomplish this goal, an exploratory, qualitative analysis of public, online narratives and diabetes blogs and forums was conducted. The following research questions were posed: (1) How is information about the curability of diabetes spread?; (2) What are the main intermediaries and mediators in the process? Findings indicated that existing online networks mediate the spread of the IHB. Eight networks were identified: family and friends, the health care field, media portals, commercial health pages, online blogs, online forums, diabetes web pages, and academic/governmental sites. How the IHB diabetes is curable was spread, or how the information about the alleged curability of diabetes was disseminated, varied by each particular network. An abstract based describing the study was submitted to the 2013 National Public Health Information Coalition conference. Paper presented at the CDC’s NPHIC conference in Atlanta Georgia, August 2013


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