Communicating Science, Health, Environment, and Risk 2017 Abstracts

Wheat free for wrong reasons? College students’ perceptions and sources pertaining to the gluten-free diet • Anne Walker; Katie Abrams, Colorado State University • Health scholars believe that misleading media messages touting the weight-loss and general health benefits of the gluten-free diet have led to its popularity among a greater portion of the population. However, these statements were not supported by research. In the pursuit of this knowledge, we conducted a survey on college students’ perceptions, attitudes, and information sources (media and interpersonal) pertaining to the diet.

Going Viral: User Engagement with Sensationalistic News on Facebook During an Infectious Disease Outbreak • Khudejah Ali; Lisa Johns • In an increasingly globalized world, the threat of the rapid spread of infectious disease during times of outbreaks can be considered to constitute a national and international health-risk emergency. In such times, it is imperative that the communication about the risk to the public is spread through populations as efficiently and effectively as possible to mitigate negative outcomes. The growth in number of people worldwide that use social media for information acquisition, coupled with the ease of sharing information quickly on social media, indicates that it provides promising opportunities to disseminate health-risk related information during such health emergencies. However, the volume of competing messages on social media means that it is necessary to maximise dissemination efficacy by capitalizing on the motivation of social media users to help spread the information through their own networks and beyond. This study thus aimed to examine message attributes of health-risk related information which may lead to increased social media activity. In particular, this study analyzed the level of sensationalism of 800 message posts on Facebook regarding the Zika virus outbreak and its influence on user engagement. Findings reveal that user engagement differs significantly between levels of sensationalism.

Communicating land loss for coastal Louisiana with visuals: Issue urgency and issue importance • Zeynep Altinay, Iona College; Nekesha Williams • The success of sustainable development will require the public to undergo a significant shift in thinking about environmental issues. Using focus group methodology, this paper investigates the influence of visual imagery on how people perceive environmental change on a coastal land. It explores two types of message framing (gain/loss framing and temporal context) and visual message framing’s ability to influence issue urgency, issue importance. Results suggest that visuals that incorporate the best practices, such as including hypothetical future scenarios, can shape pro-environmental perceptions. Other practices to increase public participation via images in sustainability efforts are discussed.

Communicating the flood: The role of communication during extreme weather events in shaping climate change engagement • Ashley Anderson, Colorado State University • Scholarship is increasingly linking experiences with weather to climate change perceptions. This study points to a missing piece of this scholarship: communication of extreme weather events. Using an online survey of Coloradans (n = 808) following a statewide flood event in 2013, this study finds that flood-related offline communication activities – including news media use and discussions with others – and online social media use are positively related to future information seeking and discussion about climate change. It also finds that people who hold more belief certainty that climate change exists are more likely to partake in future information engagement on climate change after exposure to flood-specific social media use. Implications for climate change advocacy are discussed.

The Representation of Human Papillomavirus, Sex, and Cancer Prevention in Popular Television Programming • Audrey Bachman, University of Kentucky; Robin Vanderpool, University of Kentucky; Elisia Cohen; Amanda Wilburn; Scott Johnson • “Media coverage of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is more salient and varied than ever. Content analytic procedures were used in this study to analyze HPV-related news and entertainment programming that was gathered over a 1-year period from 26 television channels. We discovered three primary findings regarding (a) stigma; (b) scientific discovery, safety, and efficacy; and (c) varied, conflicting, and incomplete scientific information. These findings may inform interventions, campaigns, and advocacy for entertainment education.

Promoting Multivitamins to College Women: An Examination of Source, Message, and Audience Characteristics • Jennifer Ball, Temple University; Allison Lazard, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Michael Mackert, University of Texas at Austin • The consumption of multivitamins that contain folic acid can significantly reduce the incidence of neural tube birth defects. It is therefore important to identify effective strategies to promote continuous multivitamin consumption. College-age women are a particularly relevant population for research on this topic since they are more likely to have unplanned pregnancies and are less responsive to messages that connect vitamin consumption to fetal health. The current study builds on previous research examining multivitamin promotion strategies by experimentally testing the effect of source, message, and audience characteristics among a female college population. Grounded in information processing and altercasting theories, results indicated source alone did not have a large effect on dependent measures. Findings also suggested college-age females preferred an informational rather than a humorous appeal, contrary to some literature on the use of humor in health communication.

To Talc or Not to Talc: How Media framed the Association Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer. • Aqsa Bashir, University of Florida • In 2016, Johnson & Johnson lost almost $200 million in three different cases against its talcum powder lawsuit. The association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer is not a novel one but one which has been at the heart of much controversy. This paper explored how media framed the association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Analysis revealed frames such as uncertainty framing, legal framing, scientific framing and negligence on the part of Johnson & Johnson as the major frames. Analysis also revealed a distinction between how the media framed the association and how Johnson & Johnson framed this claim.

The Framing of Suicide in the News • Randal Beam • Though suicide is a subject that many journalists say that they prefer to avoid, it constitutes a significant public health problem that kills 800,000 people around the world each year, including more than 40,000 in the United States. This paper uses content analysis to analyze the framing of suicide in 10 U.S. daily newspapers between 1991 and 2015. It finds that journalists are far more likely to use Thematic frames than Episodic frames in their articles. Among Thematic frames, those focusing on suicide as a social problem increased during the study period. Human Interest and Attribution of Cause frames remained stable.

Understanding Scientists’ Willingness to Engage • John Besley, Michigan State University; Anthony Dudo, UT-Austin; Shupei Yuan • A set of parallel surveys of scientists from multiple societies finds that, after controlling for past engagement, the most consistent predictors of scientists’ willingness to engage the public are a scientist’s belief the she or he will be enjoy the experience (attitude), can make a difference through engagement (external efficacy), and has the time to engage. Age, sex, scientific field, what a scientist thinks about the public with whom they might engage, perceived personal engagement skill (internal efficacy), and what a scientist thinks about their colleagues (normative beliefs) are inconsistent predictors. Given the findings, future research could focus on better understanding whether predictors vary based on specific engagement activities and experimenting with ways to assess whether scientists’ views can be reshaped and the degree to which such efforts might affect behavior.

Vaccine Conversation on Twitter: Group Dynamic, Emotional Support, and Cognitive Dissonance in HPV Social Networks • Meredith Wang, Washington State University; Itai Himelboim; Porismita Borah • As the media evolves more and more information about topics such as HPV are shifting to social media platforms like Twitter. In the present study, we use Twitter data around the HPV debate to understand the conversations around this topic. Approaching the HPV talk on Twitter as a social network this study identifies key sub-communities – clusters – of users who create “siloes” of interaction. Combining network analysis and computer-aided content analysis, we explored the communication dynamics within the groups in terms of group members’ affective and cognitive characteristics. Our findings show that positive emotion is positively correlated with graph density. For negative emotion, we found that only anger is significant predictor for graph density. We also tested correlation between certainty and tentativeness both at cluster as well as at tweet level. Our result shows that cluster brought people who are certain about HPV and people who are not certain together. Implications are discussed.

Credibility perceptions of health information: The interplay of message framing and social endorsement in Facebook • Porismita Borah; XIZHU XIAO • According to a recent Pew Research Center report, 50% of the young people between 18 and 29 years in the United States reported a high preference for online information gathering. In this landscape, the factors responsible for credibility perceptions of online information is fundamental. We conducted two experiments to examine the effect of health framing messages on credibility perceptions and how social endorsement and source moderates this relationship in the case of Facebook. Both studies used a randomized between-subjects experimental design; 2 (gain vs. loss frames) × 2 (Expert vs. Non-expert) × 2 (high vs. low social endorsement). Findings are consistent across two issues, physical activity and alcohol consumption, which indicate that gain-framed message was perceived as most credible across all conditions. Significant three-way interactions suggest that social endorsement has an impact on the relationship between message framing and credibility perceptions. Implications of these findings are discussed.

The Past, Present, and Futurity of Science Communication: The Journalization of Communication Offices • J. Scott Brennen • This project identifies, investigates, and analyzes the recent adoption of journalistic structures, practices, and formats by communication offices at US national laboratories and research universities. While identifying several causal factors, this project argues that the development of the Web was especially influential in providing a set of material resources for diverse actors to help transform the field. This project provides unique insight into how fields change, while challenging existing models of science communication.

Wading into Water Scarcity: How Information Source, Politics and Curiosity Impact Response to Water Messaging • Coy Callison, Texas Tech University; Derrick Holland, Texas Tech University • Through a nationwide hybrid experiment-survey (N = 947), respondents were exposed to a news article on water scarcity. Results suggest that Liberals and those high in science curiosity see water scarcity as more important, view organizations, their sources and the information they present related to scarcity as more credible and plan more positive water conservation behavior than their Conservative counterparts. Additionally, the government water agency was rated as more credible than the non-government agency overall.

Playing for Health: Using Games for Journalism to Engage Audiences in Health Insurance • Sara Champlin, The University of North Texas; Juli James, The University of North Texas • Health insurance knowledge is particularly low among young adults. An interactive, newsgame including entry-level information and scenarios was developed. Seventy-two participants completed in-person, individual gaming sessions: a pre/post survey of their knowledge exhibited increased understanding following the game. A game is a practical solution to a difficult health issue – the game can be played anywhere, including on a mobile device, is interactive and will thus engage an apathetic audience, and is cost-efficient in its execution.

A Comparative Examination on Haze-related Content on Traditional Media and Social Media in China: Using the Extended Parallel Process Model and Network Agenda-setting • Liang Chen, Sun Yat-sen University; Weijie Zheng; Jing Wang, Nanyang Technological University • The current study aims to explore and compare hazed-related content on between traditional media and social media in China. Specifically, this study first explored the nature of hazerelated messages on and Weibo based on the extended parallel process model (EPPM).  Besides, from the agenda-setting perspective, the correlation between two media was examined in terms of rankings of fear appeal attributes of haze (i.e. EPPM components) as well as the interrelationships among attributes. Results revealed that while there were more than half of the total messages on both media reflecting EPPM components, either threat or efficacy, a greater number of messages mentioned threat than efficacy on Weibo. Moreover, only limited messages contained severity components of threat on both media. In addition, according to results of semantic network analysis, response efficacy and collective efficacy played central roles in haze-related content on People’s Daily, whereas the most central role was susceptibility on Weibo. Finally, the results from the Spearman’s rank-order correlation  and Quadratic Assignment Procedure (QAP) indicated that there was no significant  correlation between People’s Daily and Weibo in terms of rankings of fear appeal attributes of  haze (i.e. EPPM components) as well as the interrelationships among the attributes.

Using EPPM to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Fear Appeal Messages Across Different Media Platforms to Increase the Intention of Breast Self-Examination among Chinese Women • Liang Chen, Sun Yat-sen University • The current study aims to examine the influence of fear appeal messages across different media platforms on Chinese women’s intention of breast self-examination using the Extended Parallel Processing Model (EPPM). A two-by-two-by-two factorial experiment is designed to examine the effect of threat and efficacy level of stimulus on different media platforms on behavioral intention. The sample includes 488 Chinese women who are between 25 to 50 years old. The results revealed that there were significant main effects of both threat and efficacy on the intention to performing breast self-examination. Moreover, the significant two-way interaction effect between threat and efficacy was detected, which indicated that Chinese women who received messages containing both high threat and high efficacy. Besides, the results demonstrated that there was no significant difference in the effectiveness of fear appeal messages on between traditional media and social media.

Does health orientation matter? Information processing of nutrient content claims information in online media and use of claims on food packaging • Kelly Williams; Rita Colistra, West Virginia University • Using Dutta’s (2007) work and information processing theory as guides, this study used an online survey to examine whether individuals were learners of NCC from three different online media sources, if this learning related to health orientation, and whether health orientation measures influenced their reported use of NCC claims. Results indicated that some health orientation measures are significantly related to both use of NCC and whether individuals learn about NCC from different online media sources.

Attitudes toward GMOs: The influence of media use, scientific literacy, and attitudes towards science • Kathryn Cooper; Erik Nisbet; Matt Nisbet • This study tests a theoretical model of the interrelationships between political ideology, viewing a particular type of media (edutainment/documentary), scientific literacy (general knowledge about science), deference towards scientific authorities, and scientific optimism and how these variables ultimately influence attitudes towards genetically modified organisms (GMOs) using survey data and structural equation modeling. Analysis of the entire sample (N = 1,879) indicates that edutainment viewing and scientific literacy were both associated with deference to scientific authority and with scientific optimism. Deference to scientific authority also predicted scientific optimism. Attitude toward GMOs was significantly associated with both deference to scientific authority and with scientific optimism. A multiple (separate) groups model dividing the sample into liberals (N = 559) and conservatives (N = 495) revealed that while the same model fits well for both groups the strength of the interrelationships varied for liberals and conservatives, allowing a better fit to the data when these groups were analyzed separately. Most notably, in the multiple groups model the association between scientific literacy and deference to scientific authority was five times stronger for liberals than for conservatives, which may be due to the fact that many of the most salient scientific issues in public discourse suggest a misalignment between conservative values and scientific consensus. Overall, the most influential variable in the models was deference to scientific authority.

Analysis of Climate Change Evidence Presentations and Information Formats • Jacob Copple • Climate change information is often confusing to understand for the average person, and as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has made clear in their recent assessments, citizen responsibility is going to become more important through adaptation and mitigation. Since it is becoming more popular among public concerns a better way to communicate such data for greater public understanding needs to be explored so people can become motivated to act sooner. This article addresses a gap in research on exemplification effects in climate change messaging by examining four different information formats’ impacts on issue perceptions: visual exemplar, text exemplar, visual base-rate, and text base-rate. Results suggest that exemplified message features promote greater worry or concern about the risks of climate change, but not for accuracy, importance, or likelihood of climate change risk perceptions. The visual exemplar demonstrated a significantly greater impact on worry compared to the base-rate text information format. Implications of these findings for the use of future climate change adaptive messages to mitigate ongoing effects are discussed.

Differences in Health Framing. An Investigation into the Role of Target Audiences’ Characteristics and the PSA Type • Viorela Dan, Free University of Berlin • This study uses a very diverse sample of news articles, articles in special interest publications and PSAs in an attempt to improve our understanding of why health matters are framed differently within and across these communication contexts. Specifically, the sample consists of (1) news texts and news photos originating in 24 local, metropolitan and international news outlets, (2) articles and photos from five special interest publications (SIP), and (3) print PSAs from recent campaigns focused on HIV/AIDS prevention, advocating against stigma and discrimination, and on HIV/AIDS treatment. Results show that news framing of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) differs based on the characteristics of the population in the federal states in which the news outlet was published. A case in point is the carrier frame which was conveyed most in news from states ranking high in conservatism and religiosity, but low in urbanism and HIV/AIDS prevalence. No significant differences were found based on the target audience of the SIP (PLWHA, African-Americans, LGBT). Prevention PSAs conveyed predominantly the normal frame, whereas PSAs advocating against stigma and discrimination and PSAs advocating treatment yielded to the survivor frame instead. These results suggest that target audiences’ characteristics may play a more important role in framing than previously acknowledged.

Avoiding the Trouble: Exploring Risk Information Avoidance Intentions • Mary Beth Deline; Lee Ann Kahlor • This study tests a theoretical model for risk information avoidance that empirically examines variables associated with risk information avoidance intentions, and contrasts these findings with a similar theoretical model applied to variables associated with risk information seeking intentions. The analysis is based on a survey of Texans (N=827) that focused on risk information seeking and avoidance in the context of manmade earthquakes associated with oil and gas production in the state of Texas. Key findings show that risk information avoidance intentions were singularly and strongly associated with avoidance norms, while risk information seeking intentions were associated with a wide range of variables, such as attitudes, perceived behavioral control and seeking norms. This suggests that while risk information seeking is guided by both individually held as well as socially signaled constructs, risk information avoidance is especially guided by socially signaled constructs. We discuss these findings and suggest avenues for future research efforts.

Words That May Hurt: Health Journalists, Chronic Pain and the Opioid Epidemic • Mugur Geana; Scott Reinardy • To our knowledge, this study is the first to explore health journalists’ attitudes and beliefs of chronic pain and their perceived relationships between chronic pain and opioid abuse. A survey of more than 200 health journalists reveals there is limited knowledge and awareness about chronic pain, there are misconceptions about the relationships between chronic pain and opioid addiction, and the voices of those living with chronic pain come secondary to experts or health care providers.

Exploring the Effects of Character and Cued Typicality in Health Narratives • Jiangxue (Ashley) Han, Appalachian State University; Shanshan Lou, Appalachian State University • Communication scholars have conducted a significant amount of research to explore the conditions under which exposure to narrative messages affects individuals’ attitudes and behaviors. The typicality of a story, in particular, has been shown to influence perceived realism of the messages. However, researchers have not examined the extent to which character typicality and cued typicality might affect individuals’ responses to health narratives. The present research examined whether the typicality of character and contextually-embedded typicality cues in a narrative would affect individuals’ responses. It also investigated the underlying mechanisms mediating the impact of narratives with character or cued typicality, which have not been fully investigated previously. A 2 (character typicality: typical vs. nontypical character) x 3 (typicality cues: typical cues vs. nontypical cues vs. no cues) between-subjects experiment was conducted, focusing on the risks of sun exposure without applying sunscreen. The findings showed that a narrative with a typical character led to higher perceived realism, more positive attitude toward sunscreen use, and less message novelty than a narrative with a nontypical character. Typical cues had more positive impact on issue attitude than nontypical cues. The findings also suggested that perceived realism mediated the effects of character typicality on message attitude, issue attitude, and behavioral intention to use sunscreen. The analysis showed that message novelty was a significant mediator of the effects of character typicality on message attitude. The study has theoretical implications for narrative literature and the results can help health communication practitioners improve narrative interventions and refine message designs.

Blinded by the Blu light: Consumer perceptions and electronic cigarette advertising strategies • Matthew Haught, University of Memphis; Erin Willis, University of Colorado – Boulder • Electronic cigarettes pose an unknown health risk to the public. Yet, many have become users of the devices as a standalone product or as a transition product for cessation of tobacco cigarettes. Because many electronic cigarettes are owned by major tobacco companies, persuasive advertising messages might be the loudest voice about the devices. This research surveys e-cigarette users, traditional cigarette users, combination users of e- and traditional cigarettes, former users, and nonusers to measure attitudes about electronic cigarettes. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

The Elusive Role of Facts: Science, Politics and Public Debate about Fracking Policy • Kylah Hedding, University of Iowa • This study explores the ways in which scientific information was framed and discussed during public debate over fracking in New York and North Carolina from 2008 to 2015. Employing content analysis of state newspapers and interviews with stakeholders, this study reveals how the mobilization of science in a public policy debate can lead not only to public misunderstanding, but also a climate ripe for influence from the deliberate spread of misinformation.

Internet-Mediated Climate Advocacy: History, Convergence, and Future Outlook • Luis Hestres, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Jill Hopke, DePaul University • The past two decades have transformed the ways political groups and individuals engage in collective action. Meanwhile, the climate change advocacy landscape, previously dominated by well-established environmental organizations, now accommodates new ones focused exclusively on this issue. This article examines the convergence of these trends through the examples of], the Climate Reality Project, and The Guardian’s “Keep It in The Ground” campaign. Implications for the future of Internet-mediated climate advocacy are discussed.

Troubled Waters: Risk Perception and the Case of Oyster Restoration in the Closed Waters of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary • Jason Holley, Cornell University; Katherine McComas, Cornell University; Matt Hare, Cornell University • Pathways to recognizing shared interests in addressing environmental problems are sometimes blocked by a lack of understanding or even misperceptions among stakeholder groups, which can impede productive communication. Drawing on a currently evolving case study, we examine the perceptions of stakeholders involved with oyster restoration in waters of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary considered unsuitable for commercial harvesting (i.e., closed waters) in New York and New Jersey. Survey research conducted with commercial shellfish farmers and oyster restoration volunteers shows that support for oyster restoration is less related to stakeholder group identification and more to the perceived risks to public health and the economy, and the perceived ecological benefits. The conclusions suggest how these results might be used to demonstrate where agreement exists among stakeholder groups that could be used to improve discussion about oyster restoration and advance shared interests.

Fostering Public Trust in Science: The Role of Social Media • Brigitte Huber; Matthew Barnidge, University of Vienna; Homero Gil de Zúñiga, University of Vienna; James Liu • The growing importance of social media for science communication has raised questions about whether these online platforms foster public trust in science. Combining multilevel data analysis, this study leverages a 20-country survey to examine the relationship between social media news use and trust in science. Results show a positive relationship between these variables across countries. Moreover, the between-country variation in this relationship is related to two cultural characteristics of a country, individualism/collectivism and power distance.

Feel-Good Smoking Prevention Messages – Nostalgia vs. Fear vs. Disgust • Ali Hussain, Michigan State University; Tao Deng, Michigan State University; Saleem Alhabash, Michigan State University • This study tests nostalgia as a positive emotional appeal to design no-smoking messages. Study included 169 participants and employed a 2 (smoker, non-smoker) x 3 (nostalgia, fear, disgust) repeated measures design. DVs include participants’ attitude towards smoking/PSA, and behavioral intention/confidence to refrain from smoking. Nostalgic PSA resulted in neutral attitude towards PSA and was equally effective in intention and confidence to refrain from smoking. Study informs nostalgic messages to be blended with fear and disgust.

Do social media amplify the vaccine-autism myth? • Mo Jang, University of South Carolina, Columbia; Brooke McKeever; Robert Mckeever, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of South Carolina; Joon Kim, University of South Carolina, Columbia • Despite increasing warnings about misinformation online, little has been known about how social media contribute to the widespread diffusion of misleading scientific information. This study addresses this issue, examining the vaccine-autism controversy. By looking into the full body of social media (Twitter and Reddit) and online news over 20 months in the US, Canada, and the UK, our time-series analysis shows that Twitter drives news agendas but Reddit follows news agendas regarding the vaccine-autism debate. Additionally, the results show that both Twitter and Reddit are more likely to discuss the vaccine-autism link compared to online news content.

The Stigma Factor: How Stigma Attitudes Moderate Emotional Responses to Health Message Frames • Stacie Jankowski, Northern Kentucky University • There has been much work about the ways media influences stigma; however, there is little research examining how stigma impacts the ways audiences think and feel about different media stories about health issues. This study begins to answer questions about the ways emotions and individual differences interact with framing effects. Using common frames in health news stories: Iyengar’s (1991) thematic (societal factors) and episodic (individual experience) frames as well as gain (benefits) and loss (consequences) frames, this study utilized a 2 (thematic/episodic frame) x 2 (gain/loss frame) between-groups factorial design to examine whether stigma moderated framing’s impact on the emotions of anger, sadness, and fear. Results found that certain characteristics of stigma do moderate framing’s impact on emotion readers felt when reading stories about obesity and depression, indicating stigma’s importance as a consideration for message creation by journalists and health communicators.

Reevaluating Regulation: Exploring Shifts In Public Perceptions Across Different Regulatory Domains • Hyoyeun Jun, University of Georgia; Michael Cacciatore, University of Georgia; Dietram Scheufele; Elizabeth Corley; Michael Xenos; Dominique Brossard • Relying on data from a nationally representative survey of American adults, this study explores the predictors of public regulatory attitudes on science policy, for two science issues at different points of the issue-attention cycle: nuclear power and synthetic biology. This study views public regulatory attitudes from two perspectives – ensuring safety from existing regulations and slowing down scientific progress – that have not typically been explored in public opinion work. The analysis focuses specifically on the competing roles of values and knowledge in influencing public regulatory attitudes, including differentiating between different types of knowledge and the trusted actors publics turn to when forming science regulatory attitudes.

The effects of cause-related marketing (CRM) in health communications based on the Theory of Planned Behavior • Hannah Kang, University of Kansas • Given that cause-related marketing (CRM) features health issues in marketing, this study examined how and to what extent cause-related marketing (CRM) on social media affect millennials’ responses to health information embedded in CRM based on the Theory of Planned Behavior. A total of 300 undergraduate students participated in a 2 (brand-cause fit: low vs. high) X 2 (cause proximity: local vs. international) between-subjects experiment. In addition, cause involvement (high vs. low) is the third independent variable. This study did not find main effects of brand-cause fit and cause proximity. However, main effects of cause involvement on attitudes toward sunscreen use, and attitudes toward skin cancer were found. Moreover, this study found a three-way interaction among brand-cause fit, cause proximity, and cause involvement on behavioral control for sunscreen use, as well as a two-way interaction between brand-cause fit and cause involvement on attitudes toward skin cancer. Implications and limitations of the findings are addressed in the study.

Health Belief Model Applied to Medicare Enrollment: Using Theory to Better Reach the Rural Poor • Kelly Kaufhold, Texas State University; Daniel Seed, Texas State University • The current uncertainty of U.S. health insurance policy makes insurance-, Medicaid- and Medicare-oriented research a necessity (Winfield Cunningham & Weigel, 2017). A federal initiative – the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) – aims to identify ways to improve Medicare’s reach in low-income and rural areas. The state of Texas – with the highest rate of uninsured and largest rural population of all 50 states – provided an ideal environment for a novel application of Health Belief Model into perceptions of Medicare and trust in government. A statewide panel survey (N=751) found that one HBM construct (susceptibility) resonated significantly with rural Texans and that urban Texans were significantly more supportive of government in general. Higher income, higher education and gender (male) all related significantly with trust in government and support for Medicare. Rural residency helped explain the role of gender as a predictive variable of support for Medicare. This research was supported by a grant from the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (now part of Health and Human Services) under the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008. Discussion includes implications for future research.

Consideration of Future Consequences and Persuasion: The Processing of Message about Intertemporal Behaviors • Hanyoung Kim, University of Georgia; Sungsu Kim; Yan Jin • This study investigated the effect of consideration of future consequences (CFC) on persuasion effects of public service announcements (PSAs) advocating consuming less soft drinks. An experimental survey (N=189) indicated that individuals’ CFC had a positive effect on their responses to PSAs. Also, high-CFC individuals reported a higher level of systematic thoughts while attending to the PSA, and cognitive elaboration via a systematic route mediated the effect of CFC. Implications for health communication are discussed.

Impact of Exposure to Fruit-Flavored Electronic Cigarette Advertisements on Craving for Electronic Cigarettes: Evidence from an Online Experiment • Joon Kim, University of South Carolina, Columbia; Robert Mckeever, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of South Carolina; Yoojin Cho, University of South Carolina • The present study investigated the impact of exposure to fruit-flavored electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) advertisements on U.S. young adults’ perceived harm of and craving for e- cigarettes. The result of a between-subject experiment (N = 310) using an online panel sample (Amazon’s Mechanical Turk) indicated that exposure to an image of a fruit-flavored e-cigarette in advertisements reduced individuals’ perceived harm of e-cigarettes. Individuals’ craving for e- cigarettes was mediated by perceived harm of e-cigarettes.

What is there? What is not?: A thematic analysis of social norms campaigns about binge drinking for college students • Hyeseung Elizabeth Koh, University of Texas at Austin; Amanda Mabry-Flynn, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Xiaoshan Li; Jisoo Ahn, The University of Texas at Austin; Michael Mackert, University of Texas at Austin • Many U.S colleges and universities use social norms campaigns as a form of primary prevention to reduce high risk drinking among college students. Many campuses also engage in secondary prevention through providing or promoting various addiction and recovery services. However, little attention has been given to investigating whether these two approaches are compatible with one another in reducing alcohol misuse and addiction among college students. The present study analyzed social norms campaign messages and contents on recovery services websites at universities affiliated with National Social Norms Institute (NSNI). Thematic analysis was used to identify emerging themes across all messages/contents and explore how those messages/contents reflect the primary and the secondary prevention approaches. There were four emergent themes: neglect of the “1”, recovery services disparity, you can help, and healthy living. Findings indicate that social norms messages may need to incorporate information on recovery services to reduce stigma for students who misuse alcohol.

Cancer Selfies: Implicit Representations of Cancer and Gender on Instagram • Allison Lazard, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Avery Holton, University of Utah; Tamar Wilner, University of Missouri; Shannon Zenner, University of North Carolina; Alexandra Cannon • As social media sharing is increasingly visual, more users turn to platforms such as Instagram to share their life experiences, including experiences with life altering diseases like cancer. To better understand how individuals affected by cancer represent themselves on social media, we conducted a content analysis of Instagram cancer images (n = 402). We coded the interplay of representations of cancer and gender to explore how individuals use visual techniques to represent cancer and themselves and determine if gender-susceptible cancers influence ways in which cancer is represented. While some differences for female-susceptible and male-susceptible cancers were detected, cancer self-representations were generally images of a single individual, often a self portrait (or selfie), with positive sentiment.

Risk as Anxiety in Mental Illness: Negative Emotions, Coping Responses, and Campaign Engagement Intention • Jiyoung Lee; Hua Jiang • This study applied an extension of the extended parallel process model (E-EPPM) to examine how coping responses are manifested in the context of mental illness. Using an online survey (N = 614), we found that anxiety was a strong predictor of coping appraisal. Greater anxiety also resulted in greater online information seeking, and this relationship was mediated by self- efficacy. Overall, the SEM model presented that anxiety was related to campaign engagement intention via self-efficacy and online information seeking.

Promoting the HPV vaccination: Interplay of Message Framing, Motivation Orientation, and Risk-Taking Tendency • Moon Lee, University of Florida; Jieun Cho, University of Florida • We examined effects of message framing, motivation orientation, and rebellious-risk tendency on risk perception and behavioral intention in the context of promoting the HPV vaccination. An experiment was conducted with 211 participants and a three-way interaction effect. Loss-framed messages have shown a higher behavioral intention than gain-framed messages regardless of motivation orientation in high-risk rebellious groups. Among the low-risk group, although loss-framed messages worked better for avoidance-oriented individuals, gain-framed messages worked better for approach-oriented individuals.

Media Exposure, Situation Awareness and Protective Behaviors in a Public-Health Emergency • Xigen Li; Bolin Cao • This study investigates the role of exposures to traditional and social media in facilitating situation awareness indicated by perceived knowledge and perceived threat, and the effect of situation awareness on protective behaviors during a public health emergency. Under the context of the worldwide spread of Ebola disease in 2014, a survey was conducted in Hong Kong. The results showed that compared to exposure to media content on the emergency via social media, exposure to traditional media led to a higher level of situation awareness, which was a crucial determinant of protective behaviors in a public health emergency. In addition, the effect of traditional media exposure on protective behaviors was significantly mediated by both perceived knowledge and perceived threat. However, the effect of social media exposure on protective behavior was only significantly mediated by perceived knowledge.

Understanding the Effects of Emphasis Frames on Public Engagement with Climate Change: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis • Nan Li, Texas Tech University; Leona Yi-Fan Su, University of Utah • This meta-analytic study reviewed experimental studies that examined the effects of message framing on public attitudes toward and engagement with climate change. Results suggested that message framing generally has a positive effect on individuals’ engagement intentions and support for climate policy. Message frames emphasizing the environmental, economic, and moral dimensions have a small-to-medium size impact on individuals’ engagement with climate change. In contrast, message frames around public health or geographical identity barely have an effect.

Talking about clinical trials: News framing of clinical trial stories in the United States • Jo-Yun Queenie Li; Sei-Hill Kim; Daniela Friedman; Andrea Tanner; Caroline Foster; Caroline Bergeron • Analyzing newspaper articles and television news, we explored how the American news media have framed the issue of clinical trials. More specifically, our study examined the notion of agenda-building and frame-building, looking at the salient clinical research topics and frequent frames that were used to present clinical trials in news coverage. Our findings suggest that in the past two decades, clinical trials have been presented largely as a scientific issue and a controversy, rather than a policy or an economic issue. Our study also indicates that controversy, scandals, and discrimination have been the key talking points in presenting the issue. Overall, media coverage of clinical trials may be influenced by newsworthy events and high-profile incidents that draw the public’s attention. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Examining the Cue-reactivity paradigm: Effects of Substance Cues in negative Public Service Announcements on Cognitive Resource Allocation • Jiawei Liu; Tianjiao Wang, Washington State University • This study examined how substance cues interacted with arousing content public service announcements (PSAs) to affect human motivational systems, and as a result, affect cognitive information processing. A 2 (Arousing content: higher vs. lower) x 2 (Cue: present vs. no cue) x 4 (Repetition) within-subjects factorial design experiment was conducted. Overall, the results indicate that, except for higher arousing content PSAs without substance cues, individuals allocated consistent cognitive resources to encoding the information in the other types of PSAs. Further, the encoding performance for both the PSAs with substance cues and higher arousing content PSAs were relatively low. These findings indicate potential negative impacts of including substance cues in PSAs due to their hedonic nature. Implications and future research are discussed.

Communicating Zika risk: The role of metaphor in influencing risk perceptions and negative affect • Hang Lu, Cornell University; Jonathon Schuldt, Cornell University • Effectively communicating the risks associated with emerging zoonotic diseases remains an important challenge. Drawing on research into the psychological effects of metaphoric framing, we examine the conditions under which communicating severity information influences perceptions of disease susceptibility, behavioral intentions, and policy support in the context of Zika virus. Specifically, we manipulated the severity of Zika in the information provided to participants and whether the influence of this severity information was enhanced when the “nation-as-a-body” metaphor was employed. In a between-subjects experiment, a diverse sample of 354 U.S. adults was randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions as part of a 2 (severity message: high vs. low) x 2 (U.S. framing: metaphoric vs. literal) factorial design. Results revealed more support for Zika prevention in the high- (vs. low-) severity condition. Moreover, we observed an interaction effect such that metaphoric (vs. literal) framing increased perceived risk susceptibility in the high-severity condition only. Further analyses revealed that perceived risk susceptibility and negative affect mediated the path between the two-way interaction and policy support and behavioral intentions regarding Zika prevention. Our findings replicate and complement prior work on the influences of risk perception and metaphoric framing, while offering practical insights for risk communicators seeking to communicate about Zika and other zoonotic diseases.

An Examination of Perceived Risk for Alcohol Abuse in the context of HIV&AIDS among Young Adults in Kenya • Nancy Muturi • Communicating about health risks, motivating change in risk-taking behaviors and maintaining healthy lifestyles are integral to public health promotion and disease prevention interventions. However, health risks do not occur independently but are influenced by a variety of personal, cultural, social and environmental factors. This study examines perceived risks and efficacy for alcohol abuse within the HIV& AIDS context among young adults in Kenya. The study is based on Protection Motivation Theory and focused on the following key variable: alcohol consumption, alcohol outcome expectancies, risk perception and self-efficacy for alcohol abuse and HIV infection, and knowledge about HIV&AIDS. A survey (N=402) was administered among young adults (Median=22yrs, Mean=22yrs). Results show relatively low risk perception for alcohol abuse, which was correlated with perceived risk for HIV&AIDS. Alcohol expectancies influence perceptions of HIV risks and Knowledge about HIV&AIDS is associated with alcohol consumption. Predictors for risk perception for alcohol abuse include alcohol expectancies and HIV risk perception. Furthermore, gender is significant in alcohol consumption, risk perception and self-efficacy for alcohol abuse. The study suggests communicating about alcohol risks within HIV&AIDS context and designing gender-specific risk communication interventions.

Unhealthy Fun: Food References in Comedy Series • Mira Mayrhofer; Brigitte Naderer; Alice Binder • We analyzed the most popular comedy series regarding food references. Of interest were their extent, modality, centrality, character-product interaction, and humor connection. Moreover, characteristics of the characters connected, i.e. age, gender, or ethnicity were recorded. Unhealthy foods were referenced more numerously, prominently, and were more often shown in interaction with characters. Women and African-American main characters were connected significantly more often to unhealthy foods; underage characters were connected significantly less often to healthy foods.

Frame, Tone of Video, Message Source, MSV and Viewers’ Responses: A Content Analysis of Genetically Modified Organisms Videos on Youku • Yuanfeixue Nan; Jiaqi Qin • This study explored the connection between the viewers’ responses and the message characteristics of GMO videos on Youku, which is one of the most popular online video platforms in China. The major findings are as followed. Among all the samples, health implications frame, policy and regulation frame and social facts frame were the top 3 prevalent frames used in GMO videos. Neutral videos generated the most viewers while the positive videos generated the smallest. Also, the media source was the most frequently used message source in GMO videos. Lastly, the tests showed that videos’ characteristics (media frame, tone of video, message source and MSV) had a significant association with the number of views and comments, but had no noteworthy relevance with the viewers’ attitude toward GMO.

Cultural Worldviews and Media Polarization in the U.S. Climate Change Debate • Todd Newman, University of Connecticut; Matt Nisbet; Erik Nisbet • Analyzing national-level U.S. public opinion data, we examine how cultural worldviews guide politically-slanted news media choices and the influence on concern about climate change. Controlling for a variety of confounding influences, people with strong Hierarchical and Individualistic worldviews are significantly more likely to favor right-leaning news outlets such as Fox News and The Wall Street Journal that dismiss the urgency of climate change. They are also more likely to avoid left-leaning outlets like MSNBC and the New York Times where climate change is portrayed as an urgent problem. Turning to the effects of these news media choices on public attitudes, statistical modeling indicates that as Fox News viewership increases, individuals with a more Hierarchical outlook show less concern about climate change, whereas those with an opposing Egalitarian outlook show no change. In contrast, as MSNBC viewership increases, those with more Hierarchical views show increased concern, whereas those individuals with more Egalitarian views do not. Our findings do not suggest an overall pattern of motivated reasoning among individuals with more Hierarchical worldviews in which they are screening out counter-attitudinal arguments. Rather they suggest a model of direct persuasion in which one-sided framing and cultural cues about climate change at Fox News and MSNBC promote opinion change in the direction of the news outlet’s depiction of the problem.

Weibo for Wellbeing Modeling Predictors of Health Behavior Intentions on a Social Media Site in China • Zhaomeng Niu; Jiawei Liu; Jared Brickman • Empirical research has demonstrated that social media has been frequently used for informing, and sharing online health information. This study conducted a survey of Chinese adults aged 18 and over (N = 453) to examine predictors of health-related behavioral intentions on a Chinese social media. A model was developed based on the constructs of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and five additional variables common to health intention research (perceived credibility, self-efficacy, health literacy, media use and past experience) and 80% variance of behavioral intention was explained. Implications and future research are discussed.

Effects of inoculation messages and tone of voice on HPV vaccine compliance • EunHae Park, University of Missouri; Glen Cameron • This study aims to guide the decision-making process of parents regarding the HPV vaccine based on inoculation theory and tone of voice. Overall, inoculation messages were effective to make people have a positive attitude toward HPV vaccination, a higher intention to vaccinate their children, and a higher intention to share the content with others. Using human voice was effective to increase intention to word of mouth and an interaction effects was found.

Is Climate Change a Crisis – and Who Says So? An Analysis of Climate Characterization in Major News Media • Perry Parks • This study measures characterizations of global climate change as an actual or impending “crisis” in major U.S. news media over several years to assess levels of alarm over climate change and related issues as expressed by journalists and their sources, and to determine whether major focusing events such as periodic reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change affect source and journalist characterization of the issue. Results indicate increases in climate and crisis co-occurrences between before- and after-reporting periods, increasing polarization between affirmers and deniers in before and after periods, and higher incidences of neutral characterizations among journalists than other sources.

Delivering social support online: Implications of verbal-centeredness for mass-mediated health communication • Giang Pham, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; John Wirtz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign • This study investigated the benefits of supportive communication to stressful individuals in a mass-mediated context. 243 Amazon Mturk participants completed an online survey that asked them to imagine themselves in one of the two upsetting scenarios: being slightly overweight and being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, then to read and evaluate the supportive messages delivered in the form of non-personalized online health newsletter. Supportive messages were operationalized on three levels of verbal person-centeredness, and also contained a suggestion to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Results showed that higher level of verbal person-centeredness led to better supportive outcomes including emotional improvement, attitude toward the message, but not behavioral intention. Emotional improvement was found to mediate the effect of verbal person-centeredness on attitude toward the message and behavioral intention. Understanding the effect of supportive messages on mass communication provides a direction for designing health messages that provide support for people in need and effectively improve their emotions and the way they attend to the messages.

Using Warmth Portrayals to Recruit Students into STEM Colleges • Nagwan R. Zahry, Michigan State University • The public perception of scientists as competent but cold (Fiske & Dupree, 2014), as well as odd (Besley, 2015), is particularly disquieting for the future of science and the nation’s economic and scientific competitiveness, and thus, deserves special attention. A prominent concern is that negative stereotypes of scientists can influence public acceptance of scientific consensuses on topics such as climate change (Nisbet & Myers, 2007). Another concern is that negative stereotypes can deter young people from choosing to study for a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) (Guy 2013). Drawing studies that showed the importance of warmth in guiding people’s judgments about social groups and professions (Fiske, 2012), this study aimed to portray the interpersonal warmth of scientists using two non-verbal behaviors namely, smiling and collaboration. A 2×2 within-subject online experiment was conducted using visuals (posters) in the context of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources as an example of STEM college. Analyses showed that main and interactions effects of smile and collaboration on warmth judgments. That is, the posters of students who smile scored significantly higher in warmth than the posters of students who do not smile. Further, posters of groups of students working together were associated with higher warmth judgments than posters of an individual student. Finally, posters portraying group of students who collaborate were associated with significant higher warmth scores than posters portraying an individual student. Implications for improving scientists’ negative stereotypes and recruitment of prospective students in STEM colleges are discussed.

Do Narratives Attenuate Message Resistance? A Meta-Analysis • Chelsea Ratcliff, University of Utah • Narratives are thought to mitigate message resistance in persuasive and entertainment-education contexts. Message resistance can manifest as counterarguing, anger, perceived freedom threat, or negative appraisal of the message. Despite compelling evidence to support a resistance-lowering effect of narratives, research has produced mixed results and study designs and construct operationalizations have been inconsistent. Thus the current meta-analysis seeks to test the relationship between narratives and resistance. Results are aggregated in two separate analyses in light of a divide between two types of study designs in the literature: experimental and correlational. Thus, this synthesis separately examines: (a) whether amount of resistance differs between narrative or non-narrative conditions (6 studies, 8 effect sizes, N = 4,364), and (b) the relationship between narrative engagement and resistance (8 studies, 25 effect sizes, N = 2,227). Each analysis finds a small but statistically significant effect. This suggests that embedding information in a narrative can lower counterarguing and other forms of message resistance, and that this is related to aspects of narrative processing.

Seeking Inspiration through Health Narratives: Improving Mothers’ Self-Efficacy and Outcome Expectations in Handling Children’s Sleep Behavior • Melissa Robinson, The Ohio State University; Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick • Self-concepts’ impacts on selection of health-education narratives were examined to test predictions derived from the SESAM model. Mothers (N = 148) selected two health-education testimonials, featuring different preschooler sleep training methods. Mothers’ self-concepts (i.e., parenting style) predicted selection of testimonials with the same parenting style. Reading testimonials that aligned with one’s own self-concept improved self-efficacy and outcome expectations regarding sleep training through self-improvement social comparison, with impacts still detectable after one week.

More Than a Mirror: News Coverage of Orthorexia Nervosa and the Role of Journalism in Medicalization • Amy Ross, Northwestern University • Since the concept of medicalization was first introduced over 50 years ago, scholars have concerned themselves with understanding the process by which Western culture interprets more and more aspects of everyday life in medical terms. Initially focused on medical authority as an organ of social control, medicalization research has since expanded to acknowledge the diversity of actors involved, including patients and their families, social activists and the biotechnological industry. While the news media appear throughout this scholarship as an information source or reflection of ongoing debates, their role as actual players in medicalization remains largely unexamined. This papers attempts to address that void by analyzing news coverage of orthorexia nervosa, a suggested mental diagnosis described as a “pathological fixation on healthy eating.” This study draws from an analysis of 498 English-language news stories published between 1997 and 2016. The findings suggest that from the beginning, reporters embraced this uncertain diagnosis and the provocative and paradoxical stories they associated with it. This happened in absence of a social movement advocating for its recognition, and before the term caught hold in the medical establishment. I will argue that the news media has not functioned as a mere reflection of ongoing debates, but as key player in the medicalization process, guided in part by journalistic norms. To conclude, I will discuss the implications for scholarship on medicalization and media studies.

From Understanding to Participation: Science, Media and the Public • Maren Beaufort, Austrian Academy of Sciences; Josef Seethaler, Austrian Academy of Sciences • Considering the changing relationship between science, media and the public and based on network theory, various models of the public sphere are used to describe the setting in which science, media and the public interact in a democratic environment. Taking Austria as an example, multivariate analysis of representative survey data reveals the participatory conception as the only approach that increases public interest in science to a significant degree, thus providing legitimacy for scientific research.

Sustainability tweets of for-profit and nonprofit organizations and their effects on publics’ social media reactions • Sumin Shin, University of Alabama; Eyun-Jung Ki, University of Alabama • Substantive or specific environmental messages could prevent audiences from perceiving the messages as greenwash. This study examines organizational sustainability messages on Twitter. A content analysis shows that organizations more frequently use substantive and specific messages than non-substantive (associative) or vague messages. For-profit organizations emphasize their green products or manufacturing processes while nonprofit organizations often describe a degraded environment. Descriptions of a degraded environment in for-profits organizations’ messages generate more likes, shares, and replies than product, process, and image orientations.

UnVaxxed: A Cultural Study of the Online Anti-Vaccination Movement • Kathleen Stansberry, Cleveland State University; Carlina DiRusso, Cleveland State University • This study explores the constructive communication process of online, anti-vaccination advocates to provide insight into the challenges of communicating with a highly engaged and well-informed public that is distrustful of the mainstream medical community and government funded organizations. While only a small percentage of the population is adamantly opposed to vaccinations, just as a minority of people are climate change deniers or anti-GMO activists, the influence of these groups belies their numbers as the open nature of the web has provided a megaphone for alternative views. Using the circuit of culture as both a theoretical and methodological model, this article examines how online, anti-vaccination activists use social media communication tools to construct and reinforce a belief system that runs counter to dominate cultural understandings of health and wellness. The findings show that anti-vaccination advocates believe themselves to be highly educated and are distrustful of many official information sources. The purpose of this study is to better understand the influence of online vaccination advocates, identify barriers to instigating behavior change within this community and explore the potential of using the circuit of culture model to mitigate the challenges of communicating with adverse publics.

To engage or to avoid? Examining the effects of uncivil comments on science news engagement • Leona Yi-Fan Su, University of Utah; Dietram Scheufele; Dominique Brossard; Michael Xenos • There have been mixed findings about the impact of exposure to uncivil comments. Using a 2 (civil vs. uncivil) x 3 (fracking vs. nanotechnology vs. synthetic biology) experiment, we found that incivility motivated news consumption about issues with low familiarity. Moderating effects of ideology and issue attitudes on the relationship between incivility and news engagement intentions also differed across issues. Uncivil comments about politically charged issues tended to discourage engagement among liberals. Implications are discussed.

Media coverage, environmental conditions, and climate change policy: An examination of their effect on awareness of consequences • Bruno Takahashi, Department of Journalism, Michigan State University; Edson Tandoc, Nanyang Technological University • “Research in climate change communication has rarely focused on country level conditions, including media coverage of the issue, objective environmental conditions, and climate change related policies, on individuals’ awareness of the environmental consequences of the problem. This study, based on quantity of coverage theory and research on environmental psychology, used HLM to test those relationships. Results show that only media attention to the problem positively predicts awareness of consequences across 18 nations.” Playing the mad scientist? Depictions of science professionals in video games • Catherine Turng, University of Wisconsin – Madison • As media diets evolve, researchers should investigate cultivation effects of mediums other than television, particularly video games. Our content analysis of video game scientists seeks to understand how popular new games depict this group in order to understand what image of scientists is “cultivated” among players. Results show that scientists are generally portrayed positively and non-stereotypically; however, they are often white males. These findings can have implications for STEM-related issues such as diversity and education.

Using the CAUSE Model to Understand How Texas Groundwater District Officials Communicate About Water Risks • Matthew VanDyke, Appalachian State University; Andy King, Texas Tech University • Although public communication about water risks often faces numerous challenges when conveying information, water management professionals have a responsibility to work with the public to engage in communication efforts about information related to water and environmental risks. Because limited research in water management examines institutional communication practices and perceptions, researchers and practitioners benefit from investigating current practices of individuals regularly engaged in public communication about water risks. Guided by the CAUSE model, semi-structured interviews of professionals (N = 25) employed by Texas groundwater conservation districts were conducted to understand how districts build up constituent confidence, increase awareness and comprehension of water-related risks, and build satisfaction with and motivate enactment of solutions to water-related risks. Responses from water conservation officials suggest they adhere to best practices to build confidence among constituents. Opportunities seemingly exist for motivating constituents to become more aware and better understand risks, and to enact solutions.

Media Framing Effects of Public Service Announcements About The HPV Vaccine • Yiwei Xu, Clemson University • This study explored the effects of gain-loss frame and construal level on the effectiveness of messages about the HPV vaccine using a 2 (high vs. low construal level) X 2 (gain vs. loss) factorial experiment (N = 97). Findings revealed an interaction effect on perceived benefits of the vaccine. Gain-framed messages were most effective with a day frame (low construal level), whereas loss-framed messages were most effective with a year frame (high construal level).

The Influence of Television, Social Media, and Sensation Seeking on College Students’ Normative Perceptions, Binge Drinking Attitudes and Intentions • Bo Yang; Xinyan Zhao, University of Maryland • This study examines the influence of TV and social media pro-drinking messages and sensation seeking on college students’ binge drinking normative perceptions, attitudes and intentions. Results revealed that college students’ exposure to social media pro-drinking messages was positively associated with their perceived peer approval of binge drinking, their binge drinking attitudes and intentions. Sensation seeking interacted with college students’ exposure to social media pro-drinking messages such that only among low sensation seeking college students, greater exposure to social media pro-drinking messages predicted greater perceived peer binge drinking prevalence, more favorable binge drinking attitudes, and greater binge drinking intentions. College students’ exposure to TV pro-drinking messages didn’t predict their perceived peer approval of binge drinking, binge drinking attitudes or intentions. Among low sensation seeking college students, greater exposure to TV pro-drinking messages predicted greater perceived peer binge drinking prevalence. Theoretical and practical implications of the research are discussed.

Disgusting Microbes? The Moderating Role of News Attention on Information Processing and Perceived Risks • Sara Yeo, University of Utah; Ye Sun; Meaghan McKasy; Jessica Houf; Erika Shugart, American Society for Cell Biology • Research on information processing in science communication has primarily focused on the use of cognitive heuristics. But, affective factors are also important influences on judgment and decision making. Here, we examine the impact of a discrete emotion, disgust, on information processing and opinion formation using an online survey experiment. We focus on risk perceptions about microbiome-related issues and find evidence of moderated mediation. Disgust influences risk perceptions through heuristic processing; this indirect effect is moderated by attention to news about microbiomes. Our findings move us toward proactively assessing and addressing reactions to an emerging issue that has significant societal implication.

A Comparison between Scientists’ and Communication Scholars’ Views about Scientists’ Engagement with the Public • Shupei Yuan • This study aims to investigate the potential disconnections between scientists and communication scholars’ understandings of topics related to scientists’ public engagement. We conducted a survey with authors from five journals representative of the field of science, health, environment and risk communication, and a survey with scientists from three prominent science societies. The results from comparing responses from scientists in the three societies (N=307, 373, 372) and communication scholars (N=362) showed that communication scholars expected more engagement participation from scientists than what scientists actually did, and find fewer efficacies in scientists’ engagement behavior, but more influence from scientists’ normative belief. Other factors, such as science communication objectives, were also compared. The findings address gaps in science communication research findings and practices, and provide implications for future science communication training such as shifting the emphasis of the training focus.

Sharing Health Risk Messages on Social Networking Sites: How Cognitive and Affective Elaboration Affects Behavioral Intention • Xueying Zhang • Using experiment, this study aimed to examine how fear appeal message and individual differences combined in driving users’ intentions to sharing health risk messages on Social Networking Sites (SNSs). Results suggested the cognitive elaborations interacted with fear emotion in driving sharing intentions, while the concerns for image management on SNS served to restrain the impulse to share health risk messages. Theoretical and practical implications for message design were discussed.

Characteristics of Online Health Misinformation and Corrective Messages: information source, encoding system, content feature and frame • shiwen Wu; xia zheng; Di Nie • Based on data collected from Sina Weibo of China through 2013 to 2014 (N=376), this study utilizes content analysis to investigate the characteristics of online health misinformation and corrective message. The following four categories were measured: 1) information sources, 2) encoding systems (symbol — texts and numbers; representation — pictures and photos), 3) content features (factual claims, emotional appeals, and behavioral suggestions), and 4) frames. Results revealed that a large number of online health misinformation have no specific information resources; misinformation contained more emotional appeals comparing with the corresponding corrective message; both the health misinformation and the corresponding corrective message adopted factual frames, but misinformation utilized more personalization frames. The suggestions for misinformation correction practice and further research are offered.


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