Genes and race in the news: a test of competing theories of news coverage

Am J Health Behav. 2006 Mar-Apr;30(2):125-35. doi: 10.5555/ajhb.2006.30.2.125.


Objectives: To examine newspaper coverage of race and genetics to identify patterns and possible explanations for them in extant theory in order to improve health promotion campaigns.

Methods: Articles from Lexus-Nexus database fitting the search criteria were coded according to themes developed from the scientific literature and a prereading of texts.

Results: Articles present an array of attitudes toward race and genetics. No existing theory explains this pattern.

Conclusion: Because newspapers present both sides of the scientific debate, health promotion messages dealing with race, genetics, and medicine must address both sides of the debate in order to be effective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression / genetics*
  • Genome, Human
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Mass Media*
  • Molecular Biology / methods*
  • Racial Groups*