It can be hard to find trustworthy online sources, especially when it comes to health information. A UF Health Cancer Center researcher has found a way to relay scientifically based breast cancer information to mothers through sources that women reportedly trust and relate to — “mommy bloggers.”
Carla L. Fisher, Ph.D., a cancer behavior scientist, set out to find a way to disseminate evidence-informed breast cancer messages that would resonate with mothers and daughters, motivating them to talk about environmental breast cancer risk and lifestyle changes they could make together to reduce their risk.
Fisher and her colleague Kevin Wright, Ph.D., of George Mason University, are scientists in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program, or BCERP —a program of scientists and community partners created more than two decades ago to identify environmental breast cancer risk factors. Through a study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Fisher and Wright teamed to develop a social media intervention to communicate environmental breast cancer risk information to mothers and daughters.
Fisher’s research shows that mothers and daughters are concerned about their risk but find talking about the topic challenging. Research demonstrates that online, third-party sources can help them navigate these conversations. Women who use the internet for health information and mothers often turn to “mommy bloggers,” women who make a living by blogging — online journaling — about motherhood and various aspects of life, as a trusted source.
“What we see in the research is that mothers often identify with mommy bloggers,” Fisher said. “They even, in a way, develop a sense of a relationship and a community within that social media group.”
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