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New directions for risk communication research: a discussion with additional suggestions.

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AMC Cancer Research Center, 1600 Pierce Street, Denver, CO 80214, USA.


The papers by Huerta and Macario and Kreuter share the theme of suggesting new directions for risk communication research in cancer prevention and control. Huerta and Macario remind us once again that sociocultural factors must be considered when conducting risk communication research on underserved populations. Of special note is their recommendation to target the family, which could introduce a compelling new chapter in risk communication research in cancer prevention and control. In contrast, Kreuter challenges us to consider multiple cancer risks and risk-reducing behaviors in our research and provides a provocative framework for achieving this goal. Given this common theme and the need to position specific recommendations within the larger context of other competing research questions, this paper also highlights several additional recommendations for future research. These recommendations include the following: more research on risk presentation; establishing guidelines for measuring risk; additional research testing strategies to de-bias optimistic and pessimistic perceptions of risk and evaluating risk communication as a strategy for behavior change; more research investigating the sociology of risk communication, with a special emphasis on the family as the unit of investigation; and, finally, more research that specifically targets underserved populations in diverse community settings.

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