Purpose: The effects of media coverage of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study on the attitudes and behavior of women regarding hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were studied.
Methods: This cross-sectional observational study took place in 12 counties in western North Carolina from 1997 to 1999. Participants were recruited from among women who participated in a previous study, which examined the effects of osteoporosis education on adherence to prevention guidelines. Women in the current study were limited to those previously reporting postmenopausal status and use of HRT. Participants were interviewed by telephone with a 41-item scripted survey. Main outcomes included primary sources of information regarding HRT, perception of the accuracy of information from various sources, and changes in HRT use.
Results: Every woman in the study (n = 97) reported having heard about the WHI study, and 52% reported that it had affected their use of HRT. Women using estrogen alone were as likely as women using an estrogen-plus-progestin combination to have had their use affected (48% versus 59%, respectively). Women making a change after hearing about the WHI study results were significantly less likely to trust information from their physicians regarding HRT.
Conclusion: A survey of women who had received HRT found that media reports on the WHI study had a significant influence on their use of HRT.