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Message Effects and Social Determinants of Health: Its Application to Cancer Disparities

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Recent work on message effects theories offers a fruitful way to systematically explore how features, formats, structures of messages may attract audience attention and influence the audience and is of great relevance to public health communications. Much of this work, however, has been pursued primarily at the individual level of analysis. It is our contention that message effects on health outcomes could potentially be moderated and mediated by social contextual factors in public health such as social class, social organizations and neighborhoods among others, leading to differential effects among different audience sub-groups. This essay, through a selective review of literatures in communication and social epidemiology, will explore how major message effects may moderate and mediate the role of social determinants of health on cancer control, specifically cancer-related health disparities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Harvard School of Public Health, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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