How individuals explain social problems: The influences of media use

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the role of media use in individuals' explanations of crime and welfare. Attribution theory and the information-processing approach to media effects provided a theoretical framework for this research. Media effects on explanations of social problems are enhanced by individuals' patterns of information processing. Specifically, active processing of national television public affairs content increased while active processing of newspaper public affairs content decreased the likelihood of individualistic explanations. The study also showed that individualistic explanations of crime and welfare are related to support for the death penalty and to opposition toward welfare programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-137
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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