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The Knowledge Gap Hypothesis in the Context of Stomach Cancer : Examining Cognitive and Social Mechanisms of the Theory : 위암 상황에서의 지식격차가설 : 이론의 인지, 사회적 매커니즘의 고찰을 중심으로

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사회과학대학 언론정보학과
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서울대학교 대학원
health communicationknowledge gap hypothesisstomach cancercommunication theoryhealth knowledgepublic health
학위논문 (석사)-- 서울대학교 대학원 : 언론정보학과, 2016. 8. 이철주.
The burden of cancer has been rapidly increasing over the past century as people in the modern era engage in more cancer-associated behaviors such as unhealthy diet and smoking. Among many types of cancer, the incidence of stomach cancer in Korea holds a particular concern in public health since the morbidity of stomach cancer is much higher than that of other cancer cases. The rate is also an uncommon phenomenon when compared to other countries, for stomach cancer is not considered as a prioritized disease in many of Western countries. Despite the fact that the threat of stomach cancer in Korea does not subside, cancer is a preventable disease when accompanied with healthy lifestyle. Therefore, enlarging public health knowledge and persuading people to engage in healthy behaviors have become important tasks of health communication researchers.
The present study attempted to observe issues related to health knowledge disparities in the context of stomach cancer. Specifically, as health knowledge has been regarded as a sufficient predictor of health intentions and behaviors, examining knowledge disparities among populations provides insights of ways in which our society takes collective actions to reduce health disparities in general. The current study observed how information acquisition behaviors predict stomach cancer knowledge with the moderating effects of socio-economic status (SES), reflective integration, and social capital. Applying a traditional communication theory, the knowledge gap hypothesis, to the context of stomach cancer, the study contributed not only to a confirmation of the existing state of knowledge disparities, but to a refinement of the traditional theory by incorporating cognitive and social factors into the model.
To discover the gap in knowledge, three waves of panel data were collected, and the temporal gap in knowledge was analyzed through a set of ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions. The hypotheses that SES, reflective integration, and social capital would moderate the relationship between information acquisition and stomach cancer knowledge were generally not supported. To remedy limitations of the result and capture the effects of other factors on the relationship, following additional analyses were conducted: (a) moderation effects of reflective integration and social capital (b) main effects of source-specific information acquisition behaviors. However, results of the supplementary approaches to the research model were not significant. Despite the findings, this study further discusses the implication of the model and suggests limitations of the survey and measurement to enhance future research exploring the knowledge gap in the health domain.
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