In a new study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and other institutions, people who use the internet to acquire health or medical information are less likely to have a fatalistic view on cancer than those who do not. The study, which was published in the Journal of Communication, found that the internet reduced fatalism, which is when people think that getting cancer is a matter of luck or fate, among the less educated and less health-knowledgeable people.
"Reducing cancer fatalism, especially among people with low socioeconomic status, is arguably one of the most important public health goals in the nation," Chul-joo Lee, from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in a statement. "Studying the effect of Internet use on cancer fatalism is important, considering that the Internet has become a new, very crucial source of health information for the American public these days. These findings have important implications since we showed that the Internet may be a very effective channel of health communication especially for people with low socioeconomic status."
Lee and his colleagues, Jeff Niederdeppe, Cornell University, and Derek Freres, University of Pennsylvania, surveyed 2,489 cases of people who had been diagnosed with cancer. They studied their TV and internet usage. TV has also been linked to reducing fatalism.
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