Background: This study reports data from a survey carried out in the Iranian Center for Breast Cancer (ICBC) to examine whether women read poster displays in waiting rooms and whether they would have any suggestions to improve posters and thus meet their informational needs.
Methods: Five specially designed posters were displayed in waiting rooms in the ICBC. The content of posters was related to risk factors, early detection, signs and symptoms, and prevention of breast cancer. During a 3 month period a self-administered questionnaire was distributed to all attendees and they were asked to complete the questionnaire.
Results: Overall, 850 women were given the questionnaire and 777 completed questionnaires (91 per cent) were returned. The mean age of the women was 37.0 years (SD = 10.7) and they mostly had secondary education (47 per cent). In all, 691 women (86 per cent) reported that they had seen the posters and 620 (80 per cent) said that they had read the displays. The vast majority of the women reported that posters were readable (89 per cent) and understandable (80 per cent). However, 25 per cent of the respondents indicated that materials on the displays created more questions rather than answering their questions and some reported that they became upset (26 per cent) or felt anxiety (42 per cent) while reading the posters. Finally, 218 women (28 per cent) had suggestions to improve posters, of whom 110 (50 per cent) believed that the posters should be simpler.
Conclusion: The study findings suggest that despite the limitations of posters as a means of health communication, their use in public places may be useful but consideration should be given to the content of the poster displays to prevent anxiety.