Cancer Fatalism and Cancer Information Seeking Among Black Women: Examining the Impact of Aretha Franklin’s Death on Cancer Communication Outcomes

Diane B. Francis, Carina M. Zelaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Information seeking is often heightened following news coverage of cancer announcements from prominent celebrities or public figures. While scholars have sought to explicate the mechanisms influencing cancer information seeking following celebrity health announcements, the focus has primarily been on cognitive and emotional factors. Other influences such as sociocultural constructs have largely been ignored in this domain. Additionally, few studies have examined the health communication behaviors of minority individuals. The purpose of this study was to examine Black women’s information seeking behaviors as a response to the death of the singer Aretha Franklin from pancreatic cancer and the role of fatalistic beliefs about cancer in the information seeking process. Using a survey conducted a few weeks after Franklin’s death (N = 164), we found moderate amounts of pancreatic cancer information seeking, with almost 30% of women looking for information. Younger Black women were much more likely to search for information after Franklin’s death than older women. Moreover, while we found fatalistic beliefs to be associated with pancreatic cancer information seeking, the findings were driven by younger women. In particular, younger women were more likely to seek pancreatic cancer information regardless of their beliefs about cancer. This study advances the understanding of cancer information seeking among Black women. Implications for cancer communication with Black women are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-768
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, American Association for Cancer Education.

Keywords

  • Aretha Franklin
  • Black women
  • Cancer communication
  • Cancer fatalism
  • Cancer information seeking
  • Celebrity health announcements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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