Preferences in trust regarding the provision of cancer information among adults

J Natl Med Assoc. 2021 Aug;113(4):457-464. doi: 10.1016/j.jnma.2021.03.003. Epub 2021 Apr 1.


Background: Disparities associated with trust in health information exist warranting a need for research assessing this relationship among adults. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess trust of cancer information among U.S. adults.

Methods: A weighted sample of 237,670,167 adults from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) from 2011-2014 was used for the analyses. Dependent variables were dichotomized answers to whether individuals trusted information from family/friends, the internet, or a doctor. Independent variables included age, sex, region, race/ethnicity, and cancer diagnosis to investigate associations between demographic factors and differences in trust. Logistic regression was run using R survey package.

Results: There were statistically significant differences in trust based on race/ethnicity, age, and cancer diagnosis. Minorities were less likely to trust information from a doctor, with Hispanics more likely to trust information from the internet (OR=1.8 (95% CI 1.36,2.43)), and Non-Hispanic Blacks trusting information from family and friends (OR=1.5 (95% CI 1.06, 2.13)). Adults ≥45 years of age were less likely to trust the doctor 'a lot' (45-64 years: OR=0.6 (95% CI 0.50, 0.83); 65+ years (OR=0.7 (95% CI 0.54, 0.92)), but more likely to not trust information from family and friends or the internet. Patients with cancer were more likely to trust information from a doctor 'a lot' (78%; p=0.01).

Discussion: Significant differences in preferences regarding trust in cancer information occurred based on sociodemographic characteristics.

Conclusion: These finding suggest targeting specific population subgroups for information from sources they trust could be helpful in reducing disparities in trust.

Keywords: Adults; Cancer; HINTS; Information; Trust.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ethnicity
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trust*