How Fear-Arousing News Messages Affect Risk Perceptions and Intention to Talk About Risk

Hye Jin Paek, Sang Hwa Oh, Thomas Hove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Building on the theoretical arguments of the impersonal-impact and differential-impact hypotheses, this study has a twofold purpose: first, to demonstrate how fear-arousing media messages about risk are associated with personal-level risk perception, as well as, and perhaps more so than, societal-level risk perception; and second, to examine how the resulting risk perceptions can mediate intention to talk about the risk with family and friends. A news message evaluation study was conducted among the general public in South Korea concerning two major risks, carcinogens and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Two sets of structural equation models reveal three main findings: (a) Fear-arousing news messages are positively related to personal-level risk perception, as well as to societal-level risk perception; (b) fear-arousing news messages result in intention to talk about the risk directly and indirectly through risk perception; and (c) personal-level risk perception appears more strongly related to intention to talk than does societal-level risk perception, although such relationships may vary across risk topics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1051-1062
Number of pages12
JournalHealth communication
Volume31
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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