Objective: Rural men affected by cancer are difficult to engage in psychosocial support services. This exploratory study tested whether exposure to printed brochures describing services, distinguished by a focus on rural men affected by cancer, resulted in more positive help-seeking attitudes than exposure to material focused on rural location only or generic cancer support material. Methods: Targeted versions of a South Australian Cancer Council service brochure were developed to enhance cultural appropriateness, consistent with the Elaboration Likelihood Model. Rural men affected by cancer were recruited via supportive accommodation and randomized to receive one of the three brochures. The primary outcome was positive attitude to help-seeking at post-test (between 1 and 2 days). Negative attitudes to help-seeking, intention to seek help, perceived isolation, and service use were secondary outcomes; perceived information relevance at immediate post-test was also measured. Results: Analysis (N = 114) indicated no detectable group differences (rurality/male gender, n = 33; rurality, n = 41; control, n = 40) on primary or secondary outcome measures (p > 0.05). Participants' existing service use was high, due to the recruitment methods. Support service information was primarily sourced from other people (e.g., friends/family, 22.22%; medical professionals, 27.27%). Conclusions: Existing service use rates suggest that ceiling effects obscured any potential benefit from demographic targeting of materials. Further research should consider building understanding about the acceptability of targeting techniques in this population, replication with materials designed with greater consumer input, and employ samples recruited outside a support service.
- cancer support
- psychosocial services