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J Health Commun. 2013;18(10):1256-73. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2013.778362. Epub 2013 Jul 5.

Effects of ethnic targeting on the perceived effectiveness of cancer prevention messages among latinas and non-latina white women.

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a National Cancer Institute Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, National Institutes of Health , Bethesda , Maryland , USA.


In general, efforts to target Latinos are made through Spanish-language messages, yet 75% of U.S. Latinos are bilingual or English dominant. Acculturation (adapting mainstream traits) is associated with increased lifestyle-related risk behaviors. Latinos maintain cultural traits and ethnic identification even as they appear to acculturate (e.g., through language). This raises questions about how to communicate health information to more-acculturated Latinos who are not reached by traditional Spanish outreach yet may not identify with general-market messages. This study tested the relative efficacy of English-language messages targeted to Latinas, compared with general-market messages, among highly acculturated Latina women and non-Latina White women. In this pair of online experiments, Latinas (n = 715) and non-Latina White women (n = 704) rated the perceived effectiveness of general-market versus Latina-targeted Pap smear and mammogram public service announcements. In 1 of 2 experiments ethnically targeted messages were rated relatively more effective for the intended audience and equally effective for the general audience. The author discusses implications for how campaigns reach U.S. Latinos across the acculturation spectrum.

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