Providing Young Women with Credible Health Information about Bleeding Disorders
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Providing Young Women with Credible Health Information about Bleeding Disorders

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  • Alternative Title:
    Am J Prev Med
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    Approximately 1% of U.S. women may have an undiagnosed bleeding disorder, which can diminish quality of life and lead to life-threatening complications during menstruation, childbirth, and surgery.


    To understand young women’s knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions about bleeding disorders and determine the preferred messaging strategy (e.g., gain- versus loss-framed messages) for presenting information.


    In September 2010, a web-assisted personal interview of women aged 18–25 years was conducted. Preliminary analyses were conducted in 2011 with final analyses in 2013. In total, 1,243 women participated. Knowledge of blood disorders was tabulated for these respondents. Menstrual experiences of women at risk for a bleeding disorder were compared with those not at risk using chi-square analyses. Perceived influence of gain- versus loss-framed messages also was compared.


    Participants knew that a bleeding disorder is a condition in which bleeding takes a long time to stop (77%) or blood does not clot (66%). Of the women, 57% incorrectly thought that a bleeding disorder is characterized by thin blood; many were unsure if bleeding disorders involve blood types, not getting a period, or mother and fetus having a different blood type. Women at risk for a bleeding disorder were significantly more likely to report that menstruation interfered with daily activities (36% vs 9%); physical or sports activities (46% vs 21%); social activities (29% vs 7%); and school or work activities (20% vs 9%) than women not at risk. Gain-framed messages were significantly more likely to influence women’s decisions to seek medical care than parallel loss-framed messages. Findings suggest that the most influential messages focus on knowing effective treatment is available (86% gain-framed vs 77% loss-framed); preventing pregnancy complications (79% gain- vs 71% loss-framed); and maintaining typical daily activities during menstrual periods.


    Lack of information about bleeding disorders is a serious public health concern. Health communications focused on gain-framed statements might encourage symptomatic young women to seek diagnosis and treatment. These findings and corresponding recommendations align with Healthy People 2020 and with CDC’s goal of working to promote the health, safety, and quality of life of women at every life stage.

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