Article by Jeff Niederdeppe in the journal Health Communication Research (Issue 34, 2008, 423-447).
This article tested a model, informed by the knowledge gap hypothesis, to predict information seeking about cancer immediately following news about the diagnosis or death from cancer of a national celebrity. I identified five celebrity news events and examined their impact using data from the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey. News coverage about celebrity news events was more likely to promote information seeking among people with greater education than among those with less education. These differences were explained, at least in part, by the fact that highly educated people had greater health knowledge and community involvement than less-educated people. These factors may contribute to widening socioeconomic gaps in prevention behaviors. I suggest strategies to address these gaps.