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Genet Med. 2015 Jul;17(7):545-53. doi: 10.1038/gim.2014.141. Epub 2014 Oct 23.

Celebrity disclosures and information seeking: the case of Angelina Jolie.

Author information

1
Office of Communications and Education, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
2
iDoxSolutions, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
3
Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

On 14 May 2013, actress Angelina Jolie disclosed that she had a BRCA1 mutation and underwent a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. This study documents the impact of her disclosure on information-seeking behavior, specifically that regarding online genetics and risk reduction resources available from the National Cancer Institute.

METHODS:

Using Adobe Analytics, daily page views for 11 resources were tracked from 23 April 2013 through 25 June 2013. Usage data were also obtained for four resources over a 2-year period (2012-2013). Source of referral that viewers used to locate a specific resource was also examined.

RESULTS:

There was a dramatic and immediate increase in traffic to the National Cancer Institute's online resources. The Preventive Mastectomy fact sheet received 69,225 page views on May 14, representing a 795-fold increase as compared with the previous Tuesday. A fivefold increase in page views was observed for the PDQ Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer summary in the same time frame. A substantial increase, from 0 to 49%, was seen in referrals from news outlets to four resources from 7 May to 14 May.

CONCLUSION:

Celebrity disclosures can dramatically influence online information-seeking behaviors. Efforts to capitalize on these disclosures to ensure easy access to accurate information are warranted.

PMID:
25341112
PMCID:
PMC4408206
DOI:
10.1038/gim.2014.141
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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