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Health Educ Res. 2008 Jun;23(3):549-59. Epub 2007 Jul 13.

Evidential preferences: cultural appropriateness strategies in health communications.

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  • 1Health Communication Research Laboratory, Saint Louis University, School of Public Health, 3545 Lafayette Avenue, St Louis, MO 63104, USA. sandersv@slu.edu


While there is widespread agreement that communication programs and materials will be more effective when they are 'culturally appropriate' for the populations they serve, little is known about how best to achieve this cultural appropriateness. The specific strategies used to realize the potential of culturally appropriate communication take many forms. This paper discusses an approach to assessing and understanding the presentation of statistical information (an evidential strategy) to enhance the perceived relevance of communications targeted to older African American men and women. Formative research on African Americans' attitudes and knowledge of colorectal cancer explored preferences for presentation of statistical data. Focus group interviews elicited participants' (n = 49) thoughts and attitudes on and anticipated behavioral response to five strategies for presenting cancer data and evidence-general, race specific, disparity, social math and framing approximately 5-year probability of death or survival. A description is provided of the application of this approach to the development of a colorectal cancer campaign for African Americans. This strategy may prove useful in understanding and structuring the presentation of targeted cancer evidence that could result in more effective health communication.

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