Gibson, L., Tan, A.S.L., Freres, D., Lewis, N., Martinez, L., & Hornik, R.C. (2015). Non-medical information seeking amid conflicting health information: Negative and positive effects on prostate cancer screening. Health Communication.
This study investigates the impact of seeking information about the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test
on men’s PSA test use during a period of conflicting recommendations. Analyses used longitudinal
survey data collected in 2005 and 2006 from a nationally representative sample of U.S. males aged 40–70
years (n = 777). Cross-sectionally, nonmedical information seeking was significantly associated with
increased odds of having a PSA test in the past year (Time 1 odds ratio [OR] = 9.74, p < .01, 95%
confidence interval [CI] = 4.37, 21.70; Time 2 OR = 5.78, p < .01, 95% CI = 3.17, 10.55). However, lagged
analyses showed that among men who had a PSA at Time 1, active seeking is associated with reduced
odds of later having a PSA test (OR = 0.33, p < .05, 95% CI = 0.13, 0.85). Participants who had not had a
PSA test in the past year very rarely sought information about PSA tests. Information acquisition in an
environment of conflicting recommendations may influence adoption of cancer screening behaviors.