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Eur J Public Health. 2009 Aug;19(4):370-4. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckp061. Epub 2009 May 18.

Television exposure is related to fear of avian flu, an Ecological Study across 23 member states of the European Union.

Author information

  • 1Leuven School for Mass Communication Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Parkstraat 45, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. jan.vandenbulck@soc.kuleuven.be

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A pandemic outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza is believed to coincide with large-scale panic. Even without an outbreak fear of infection may be widespread. Mass media coverage of the risks of a pandemic may lead to higher levels of fear.

METHODS:

An ecological study looked at data from 23 member states of the European Union and controlled for population size, level of education, age distribution and income and wealth.

RESULTS:

When the findings for Cyprus were excluded each additional hour of average TV viewing was associated with a 15.6% increase in the proportion of people worrying about the virus. TV viewing explained 52% of the variance.

CONCLUSION:

Fear of a pandemic precedes any real pandemic and may have to be dealt with separately. Exposure to television is highly associated with worrying about the virus. This relationship merits further study.

PMID:
19451192
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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