Cancer information overload: Discriminant validity and relationship to sun safe behaviors

Jakob D. Jensen, Manusheela Pokharel, Nick Carcioppolo, Sean Upshaw, Kevin K. John, Rachael A. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: Past research suggests a large number of adults feel overwhelmed by the amount of cancer information – a phenomenon labeled cancer information overload (CIO). The current study examines whether CIO is discriminant from other negative message perceptions (reactance, information avoidance) and related to sun safe behaviors. Methods: U.S. adults (N = 2,219) completed survey questions assessing CIO, dispositional reactance, defensive/information avoidance, sun safe behavior, and knowledge. Results: The results demonstrated that CIO was discriminant from dispositional reactance, information avoidance, and defensive avoidance, and individuals with higher overload were more likely to tan, less likely to have an annual checkup with a healthcare provider, and less knowledgeable about sun safe protection. Unexpectedly, individuals with higher CIO were more likely to wear wide-brimmed hats. Conclusion: CIO is distinct from reactance and avoidance, and related to performance/knowledge of sun safe behaviors, and receiving annual healthcare checkups. Practice Implications: The correlation between CIO and sun safe behavior differs by behavior; a pattern which suggests practitioners might benefit from adapting their communication strategy based on the target population and behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-314
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Cancer information overload
  • Defensive avoidance
  • Discriminant validity
  • Dispositional reactance
  • Information avoidance
  • Sun safe behavior
  • Tanning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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