Wednesday, December 17, 2014

General Practitioners' Knowledge and Concern about Electromagnetic Fields

General Practitioners' Knowledge and Concern about Electromagnetic Fields

Berg-Beckhoff G, Breckenkamp J, Larsen PV, Kowall B. General Practitioners' Knowledge and Concern about Electromagnetic Fields. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Dec 12;11(12):12969-12982.


Our aim is to explore general practitioners' (GPs') knowledge about EMF, and to assess whether different knowledge structures are related to the GPs' concern about EMF. Random samples were drawn from lists of GPs in Germany in 2008. 

Knowledge about EMF was assessed by seven items. A latent class analysis was conducted to identify latent structures in GPs' knowledge. Further, the GPs' concern about EMF health risk was measured using a score comprising six items. The association between GPs' concern about EMF and their knowledge was analysed using multiple linear regression. 
In total 435 (response rate 23.3%) GPs participated in the study. Four groups were identified by the latent class analysis: 43.1% of the GPs gave mainly correct answers; 23.7% of the GPs answered low frequency EMF questions correctly; 19.2% answered only the questions relating EMF with health risks, and 14.0% answered mostly "don't know". There was no association between GPs' latent knowledge classes or between the number of correct answers given by the GPs and their EMF concern, whereas the number of incorrect answers was associated with EMF concern.

Greater EMF concern in subjects with more incorrect answers suggests paying particular attention to misconceptions regarding EMF in risk communication.

Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

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