Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Patric R. Spence

Second Advisor

Dr. Autumn Edwards

Third Advisor

Dr. Leah Omilion-Hodges

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until

12-15-2022

Abstract

The Extended Parallel Processing Model (EPPM; Witte, 1992) has been applied as a framework to examine risk information dissemination and effective sensation seeking in various health communication scenarios. Previous studies suggest that it is worth examining whether Twitter could have potential efficacy effects similar to face-to-face interaction or traditional media interventions. Given the overload and discrete information in the medium environment, people would adapt information processing short cuts, to tend to similar perceptions from various sources rather than reading specific messages.

The current study investigates the threat appeal perceptions of EPPM on system-generated and other-generated message cues in social media. An assumption raised was that people might acquire response efficacy through the number of retweets from the users. 219 participants were recruited for a 2 (high vs. low threat appeal) × 2 (numbers of retweets and replies presented vs. absent) posttest-only experiment. The results did not support the hypothesis. However, the study emphasized the importance of perceived severity and susceptibility for response efficacy perceptions. The manipulation limitations and applied implications are also discussed.

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