Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 172–178 | Cite as

Investigating the Impact of Message Format, Involvement, Scientific Literacy, and Education on Attitude Toward Reducing Cancer Risk Through Regulation

  • Kami J. Silk
  • Samantha Nazione
  • Lindsay Neuberger
  • Sandi Smith
  • Charles Atkin


Recent research links perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) to increased breast cancer risk. Efforts to inform the lay public about potential risks associated with PFOA need to be accessible in their content as many individuals, including highly educated ones, have low scientific literacy. This study investigates the role of message format, as well as personal involvement, scientific literacy, and education in influencing attitudes about PFOA regulation. Participants (N = 2,078) were exposed to one of three message formats about PFOA and then responded to survey questions related to their attitude about the need for new regulation. Results revealed that issue involvement was positively related to favorable attitude regarding new regulation, while education and advocacy status were negatively related; cancer experience, scientific literacy, and message format did not influence attitude about new regulation. Implications of the results are discussed as they relate to communicating uncertain risk information to inform and influence lay individuals.


Breast Cancer Heuristic Systematic Model PFOA regulation Uncertain Risk Information 



Supported by the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Centers Grant number U01 ES012800 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIEHS or NCI, NIH.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kami J. Silk
    • 1
  • Samantha Nazione
    • 2
  • Lindsay Neuberger
    • 3
  • Sandi Smith
    • 4
  • Charles Atkin
    • 5
  1. 1.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Nicholson School of CommunicationUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  4. 4.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  5. 5.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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