News coverage about aspirin as a countervailing force against low-dose aspirin campaign promotion

Brian G. Southwell, Sue Duval, Russell V. Luepker, Niki C Oldenburg, Jeremy Van't Hof, Milton Eder, Carol Russell, Robert N. Graves, John Finnegan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Organized health promotion efforts sometimes compete with news media, social media, and other sources when providing recommendations for healthy behavior. In recent years, patients have faced a complicated information environment regarding aspirin use as a prevention tool for heart health. We explored the possibility that campaign promotion of low-dose aspirin use might have been undermined by news coverage in the USA detailing controversies regarding aspirin use. Using time series data on low-dose aspirin sales in Minnesota, USA, we assessed whether news coverage of aspirin or audience engagement with the Ask About Aspirin campaign website predicted subsequent changes in low-dose aspirin sales, over and above any secular trend. News coverage predicted actual low-dose aspirin purchases whereas exposure to a state-level campaign did not. While a campaign effort to encourage people at risk to discuss low-dose aspirin use with their health care providers did not generate substantive changes in low-dose aspirin tablet sales in the areas of Minnesota monitored for this study, past news coverage about aspirin use, including news about negative side effects, may have suppressed low-dose aspirin sales during this same period. The extent of news coverage about aspirin and heart health had a negative effect on tablet sales recorded in greater Minnesota approximately a month later in an ARIMA time series model, coefficient =-.014, t =-2.33, p =. 02. Presented evidence of news coverage effect suggests health campaign assessment should consider trends in the public information environment as potential countervailing forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1941-1946
Number of pages6
JournalTranslational behavioral medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 Society of Behavioral Medicine. All rights reserved.


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Health promotion
  • News coverage
  • Time series


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