Getting the Message Out About Cognitive Health: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Older Adults' Media Awareness and Communication Needs on How to Maintain a Healthy Brain

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Bei Wu, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Purpose: Evidence suggests that physical activity and healthy diets may help to maintain cognitive function, reducing risks of developing Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Using a cross-cultural focus, we describe older adults‘ awareness about cognitive health, and their ideas about how to inform and motivate others to engage in activities that may maintain brain health. Design and Methods: Nineteen focus groups were conducted in 3 states (California, North Carolina, South Carolina) with 177 adults aged 50 years and older. Six groups were with African Americans (AAs), 4 with Chinese, 3 with Vietnamese, 4 with non-Hispanic Whites, and 2 with American Indians (AIs). A qualitative thematic analysis was conducted. Results: Many participants did not recall reading or hearing about brain health in the media. Participants recommended a multimedia approach to inform others about brain health. Both interpersonal and social/group motivational strategies were suggested. Word of mouth and testimonials were recommended most often by Chinese and Vietnamese. AAs and AIs suggested brain health education at church; AAs, Chinese, and Vietnamese said brain health slogans should be spiritual. Participants‘ perceived barriers to seeking brain health information included watching too much TV and confusing media information. Implications: Findings on communication strategies for reaching racial/ethnic groups with brain health information will help guide message and intervention development for diverse older adults.

Additional Information

The Gerontologist, Special Issue, 49, S1, S50-S60
Language: English
Date: 2009
Cognitive health, Older adults, Multimedia communication, Cross-cultural comparison

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