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Genes and Race in the News: A Test of Competing Theories of News Coverage

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Objectives: To examine newspaper coverage of race and genetics to identify patterns and possible explanations for them in extant theory in order to improve health promotion campaigns. Methods: Articles from Lexus-Nexus database fitting the search criteria were coded according to themes developed from the scientific literature and a prereading of texts. Results: Articles present an array of attitudes toward race and genetics. No existing theory explains this pattern. Conclusion: Because newspapers present both sides of the scientific debate, health promotion messages dealing with race, genetics, and medicine must address both sides of the debate in order to be effective.
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Keywords: genetics; health; media; race

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Communication Studies, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN. 2: Department of Speech Communication, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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