The cancer information overload (CIO) scale: Establishing predictive and discriminant validity

Jakob D. Jensen*, Nick Carcioppolo, Andy J. King, Courtney L. Scherr, Christina L. Jones, Jeff Niederdieppe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Objective: Survey data suggests that approximately three-fourths of adults are overwhelmed by cancer information - a construct we label cancer information overload (CIO). A significant limitation of existing research is that it relies on a single-item measure. The objective of the current study is to develop and validate a multi-item measure of CIO. Methods: Study 1 (N= 209) surveyed healthcare and manufacturing employees at eight worksites. Colonoscopy insurance claims data were culled eighteen months later to evaluate the predictive validity of CIO. Study 2 (N= 399) surveyed adults at seven shopping malls. CIO and cancer fatalism were measured to examine the properties of the two constructs. Results: Study 1 identified a reliable 8-item CIO scale that significantly predicted colonoscopy insurance claims 18 months after the initial survey. Study 2 confirmed the factor structure identified in Study 1, and demonstrated that CIO, cancer fatalism about prevention, and cancer fatalism about treatment are best modeled as three distinct constructs. Conclusion: The perception that there are too many recommendations about cancer prevention to know which ones to follow is an indicator of CIO, a widespread disposition that predicts colon cancer screening and is related to, but distinct from, cancer fatalism. Practice implications: Many adults exhibit high CIO, a disposition that undermines health efforts. Communication strategies that mitigate CIO are a priority. In the short-term, health care providers and public health professionals should monitor the amount of information provided to patients and the public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-96
Number of pages7
JournalPatient education and counseling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • CIO scale
  • Cancer fatalism
  • Cancer information overload
  • Colonoscopy
  • Measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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