Genetics in the news : studying the effects of mass media genetic health messages on health cognitions and behaviour

C.M.R. Smerecnik

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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The social value of technological applications of genetics, such as genetic screening, can be enormously improved by informing the public about them. Mass communication, however, is too general and can at best indicate possible individual differences in DNA structure. Mass media genetic health messages often lead to denial of susceptibility and do not motivate to change of unhealthy behaviour. Because of the lack of personal relevance the mass media therefore do not appear to be the ideal communication channel for the improvement of preventive behaviour on the basis of genetic information. Recommended is specifically aimed communication explaining the meaning of the message for the recipient, and additional advice about changes in lifestyle.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • de Vries, Nanne, Supervisor
  • de Vries, Hein, Supervisor
  • Mesters, Ilse, Co-Supervisor
Award date4 Feb 2010
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • genetics
  • mass communication
  • prevention

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