Blog Post Week 2
This week I’ve been researching my chosen topic and trying to narrow down my target market.
My topic is Endometriosis awareness. I’ve narrowed this down following last week to awareness of the condition in adolescent girls (15-20).
The problem seems to be normalisation of symptoms, not realising there is any problem, a lack of knowledge and/or understanding by parents, friends, etc. and lack of knowledge and proper treatment practices by medical professionals.
I think that the potential to improve awareness could be approached in a few different ways. First and foremost is raising awareness in teens themselves; the second is to provide knowledge and resources to parents of teenage girls so they know what to look for; the third is to increase awareness and provide best practice recommendations to medical professionals, specifically GPs.
I think looking at teens and their parents as a target market is probably my best option at this stage, and this would probably involve a campaign which is both in schools and online, as well as other key areas which both teens and their parents are likely to be/access.
I’ve also used the ABS website to find some statistics which relate to this market. In particular, looking at health in females and young people, both physical symptoms and associated anxiety disorders. I’ve also begun looking at potential platforms for the campaign which will reach teen girls, so I’ve researched home internet use – essentially how teens use social media and on what device.
Below are some key points I’ve found which are relevant to my topic:
- In Australia, 67% of people aged 15 years and over reported experiencing bodily pain in the past four weeks.
- More Australian adults experienced chronic pain in 2007-08 than in 1995
(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011)
- 19% of females 15 years and over reported anxiety related problems
- 7% of females were sedentary or engaged in low levels of exercise
(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016)
- Most households with access to the internet did so through a desktop or laptop computer (94%), followed by households who accessed via mobile or smart phones (86%) and households who accessed via tablets (62%).
- Those people in the 15-17 years age group had the highest proportion of internet users (99%)
- Those aged 15-17 years spent the highest mean number of hours per week on the internet (18 hours per week)
- Those aged 15-17 years old most commonly went online for social networking (91%), followed by entertainment and formal education activities (73% for both)
(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015)
- One in ten people aged 15 years and over in 2007-08 reported feeling severe (8%) or very severe (2%) pain in the four weeks prior to being surveyed.
- One in five reported moderate pain (19%) and 39% had mild or very mild bodily pain.
- Rates of experiencing moderate – very severe pain increased steadily with age, from 18% of people aged 15-24 years.
- Women were more likely than men to experience anxiety disorders (18%)
- Adolescence and young adulthood is a critical stage of transition in physical and mental development, and vulnerability to mental illness is heighted at this time.
- Around three-quarters (76%) of people who experience mental disorder during their lifetime will first develop a disorder before the age of 25 years.
(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012)
This data is interesting, and I think it is relevant to the overall experience of Endometriosis sufferers as a proportion (10%) of the Australian population. In terms of experiencing pain, the data suggests that chronic pain levels are increasing over time. Also of note is that 18% of people aged 15-24 years experienced moderate-very severe pain. When this is coupled with the already known vulnerability of young people to mental illness (see above), and the fact that 76% of people with mental disorders during their lifetime are developing them before the age of 25, Endometriosis, which can cause both pain, and mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, is a serious concern for teenage girls today. Also of note is the lack of young girls exercising enough, as this is an important method for coping with Endometriosis symptoms. This could potentially be a point of note for the campaign. Finally, looking at how teenagers connect with the world and each other, almost every teenager is using the internet 99%, and are using it on average around 18 hours a week. They also use the internet predominantly for social media (91%), as well as entertainment and school (73%). This makes social media in particular a very strong platform for the campaign as it has the greatest reach of any other medium for connecting with teenagers. This will help me shape the direction that I want the campaign to go, and will continue to refine it as I go.
I’ve also been working on creating the first persona, which will be developed and refined over time, and will also be accompanied by others as I research the topic more. I’ve created a few moodboard images of the people I feel represent my main personas, being teenage girls and their mothers, which you can see below:
This first persona document is for my main target market, being that of teenage girls, and looks in particular at girls who might not know that there is an issue with what they experience.
I used research based on teen’s experience with Endometriosis to inform this, as well as the statistics above from the ABS to ensure that I created a persona that was true to the market that I am targeting.
Research that I’ve found in relation to this is below:
- Women with endometriosis often report onset of symptoms during adolescence
- Diagnosis is often delayed
- Most common complaints were dysmenorrhea (64%), abnormal/irregular uterine bleeding (60%), gastrointestinal symptoms (56%)
- Median number of physicians who evaluated their pain was 3
- May describe acyclic pain as well as cyclic pain
- Social and emotional costs to girls caused by absenteeism at school and inability to participate in normal activities
- In survey of more than 4000 women, two-thirds experienced symptoms during adolescence
- Adolescents are overlooked, may be because they present with atypical symptoms; vague abdominal symptoms, gastrointestinal distress
- Adolescents had average 23 month delay in diagnosis
- 56% of patients report a positive family history
- Can be misdiagnosed with conditions such as PID and IBS, which can have adverse psychological impacts
- Often referred to specialists such as psychiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons before endometriosis is diagnosed.
- Early diagnosis and removal of endometriosis may decrease long-term detrimental effects of the disease
(Source: Endometriosis in Adolescents 2015)
- This young woman has doubts and fears when she thinks her incapacitating symptoms are the norm. She believes that everyone feels as bad as she does during her period, and so she concludes that other girls can handle things better
- “Am I a wimp? Do I have to live like this for the rest of my life?”
- Feelings of inadequacy are deepened by often well-meaning but uninformed people including coaches, parents and girlfriends
- She may think “I shouldn’t take drugs, but I can’t function without them, therefore I am weak or helpless or worthless or bad”
(Source: Endometriosis in Teenagers n.d.)
- Sometimes passed out from cramps
- Nauseated, constipated and exhausted
- Saw 22 doctors over years, none took her seriously
- Was told it was “all part of being a woman”
- There was “nothing they could do for me”
- I knew something was wrong when I was 15, but no one listened to me
- Affects 89 million people worldwide
- Many young girls with endo do not find out until years later
- Can take up to 10 years from onset of symptoms for doctor to give diagnosis
- Largely because physicians do not believe the condition affects teenagers
- Girls are told they are too young to have the disease
- They’re trying to get out of school
- They’re exaggerating
- Misconception that pain with periods is normal
- Often missed school days and social events because she was in agony
- Doctors said it was normal to have a period that painful
(Source: Endometriosis is Often Ignored in Teenage Girls 2015)
This is all going to be important in determining how I approach the topic as it provides key words and experiences that may resonate with teenage girls. Using this information to create a campaign which really resonates with them is hopefully something I can do in coming weeks.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011, Facts at Your Fingertips – Health, cat. no. 4841.0, ABS, viewed 22nd March 2017, <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4841.0Chapter12011>
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, Year Book Australia – Health, 1401.0, ABS, viewed 22nd March 2017, <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/1301.0Main+Features2292012#>
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015, Household Use of Information Technology, 8146.0, ABS, viewed 22nd March 2017, <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8146.0#>
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, Gender Indicators – Health, 4125.0, ABS, viewed 22nd March 2017, <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4125.0~August%202016~Main%20 Features~Health~2321>
Albee, R, Endometriosis in Teenagers, Center for Endometriosis Care, viewed 22nd March 2017, <http://centerforendo.com/endometriosis-in-teenagers/>
Dun, E, Kho, K, Morozov, V, Kearney, S, Zurawin, J, Nezhat, C 2015, ‘Endometriosis in Adolescents’, Journal of the Society of Laparascopic Surgeons, vol. 19, no. 2, viewed 22nd March 2017, <https://www.ncbi.nlm. nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4432718/>
Ellin, A 2015, ‘Endometriosis is Often Ignored in Teenage Girls’, The New York Times, viewed 22nd March 2017, <https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/endometriosis-is-often-ignored-in-teenage-girls/?_r=1>