Factors shaping personal perceptions of cancer-related information on access to health services and health status among the U.S. adult (18+) population: An examination of the 2003 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) Data
Bhakta, Kruti Anil
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The study utilized data from the 2003 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) administered by the National Cancer Institute to (1) create a systemic understanding of factors that are associated with patient’ perceptions of health and cancer in association with access to health services and health status and (2) examine whether the relationship between patient’ perceptions of access to health services and health status is affected by social inequalities. HINTS employed a national sample of U.S. households (N = 6,369). Structural equation modeling and ecological systems theory was used in the study to explore the complex set of variables relevant to perceptions of health care access and health status. The investigation highlights factors that enhance as well as those that might inhibit health care access and health status. Results showed that the constructs: patient-provider communication, health communication, nutrition, and cancer perceptions and knowledge had a positive effect on health services. In addition, these findings suggest that positive perceptions of the relationship between patients and providers may be associated with greater access to health services in all of the groups (cancer diagnosis, race/ethnicity, gender and education). Results also showed that greater agreement in statements such as “it seems like everything causes cancer” (cancer perceptions and knowledge) and the more respondent’s reported getting cancer information from media, social, and familial sources (cancer communication), the more likely they were going to feel sad, restless, nervous, hopeless, worthless, and like everything is an effort (health status). Results specific to the moderating variables (cancer diagnosis, race/ethnicity, gender, and education) on health status are mixed. The findings from this study are employed to assist health care providers, patients themselves, as well as mental health professionals who work with cancer patients with an overall goal of more clearly defining the complex factors that determine accessibility and health status. Understanding the different areas of an individual’s environment such as health risk perceptions, their source/s of information on health, and their relationship with their health providers can help medical and mental health professionals take the necessary actions or ask the appropriate questions to better meet the individual’s needs to access health services and improve their health status.
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