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J Med Screen. 2012 Dec;19(4):184-8. doi: 10.1258/jms.2012.012095. Epub 2012 Dec 27.

The Jade Goody Effect: whose cervical screening decisions were influenced by her story?

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Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK.



In 2009 more women attended cervical screening in England and Wales than in the previous year. Described as the 'Jade Goody Effect' this was attributed to the death from cervical cancer of a UK celebrity. The present study aimed to establish which sociodemographic characteristics were associated with being influenced by Jade Goody's story.


Data were collected as part of a Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) omnibus survey using random location sampling. Women in England aged 26-64 years were asked to report whether they felt Jade Goody's story had influenced their decisions about cervical screening over the 18 months between her death and the time of the survey.


Data from 890 participants was included in analysis. Over a third of women felt Goody's story had influenced their decisions about cervical screening (40%). Younger women (aged 26-35 years) were more likely to have been influenced by Goody's story than older women (56-64 year olds). There was also evidence of socioeconomic variation with women from lower socioeconomic class groups and those with fewer educational qualifications more likely to say they had been influenced by Goody's story.


The 'Jade Goody Effect', as acknowledged by women themselves, was more pronounced among young women and influenced screening decisions more markedly among those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Narrative communication may be an effective way to encourage attendance at cervical cancer screening and reach groups of the population that are difficult to reach using traditional intervention methods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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