Association between social media use and cancer screening awareness and behavior for people without a cancer diagnosis: Matched cohort study

Lei Qin, Xiaomei Zhang, Anlin Wu, James S. Miser, Yen Lin Liu, Jason C. Hsu, Ben Chang Shia, Linglong Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The use of social media in communications regarding cancer prevention is rapidly growing. However, less is known about the general population's social media use related to cancer screening awareness and behavior for different cancers. Objective: We aimed to examine the relationship between social media use and cancer screening awareness and behavior among people without a cancer diagnosis. Methods: Data were collected from the Health Information National Trends Survey 5 Cycle 1 to 3 in the United States (n=12,227). Our study included 10,124 participants without a cancer diagnosis and 3 measures of screening awareness (those who had heard of hepatitis C virus [HCV], human papillomavirus [HPV], and the HPV vaccine) and 4 measures of behavior (those who had prostate-specific antigen tests, Papanicolaou tests for cervical cancer, as well as breast cancer and colon cancer tests). Propensity-score matching was conducted to adjust for the sociodemographic variables between the social media user and nonuser participants. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the association of social media use by gender. Jackknife replicate weights were incorporated into the analyses. Results: Of the 3794 matched participants, 1861 (57.6% weighted) were male, and the mean age was 55.5 (SD 0.42) years. Compared to social media nonusers, users were more likely to have heard of HCV (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]=2.27, 95% CI, 1.29-3.98 and aOR=2.86, 95% CI, 1.51-5.40, for male and female users, respectively) and HPV (aOR=1.82, 95% CI, 1.29-2.58 and aOR=2.35, 95% CI, 1.65-3.33, for male and female users, respectively). In addition, female users were more likely to have heard of the HPV vaccine (aOR=2.06, 95% CI, 1.41-3.00). No significant associations were found between social media use and prostate-specific antigen tests in males, Papanicolaou tests and breast cancer tests in females, or colon cancer tests in both male and female users. Conclusions: While social media services can potentially promote cancer screening awareness in the general population, but they did not improve screening behavior after adjusting for socioeconomic status. These findings strengthened our understanding of social media use in targeting health communications for different cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere26395
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume23
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Cancer screening awareness
  • Cancer screening behavior
  • Gender-specific effects
  • General population
  • Propensity-score matching
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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