Date of Award

June 2019

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Media Studies

Advisor(s)

Rebecca Ortiz

Keywords

exercise, health campaign, health communications, public service announcement, social media

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

In the digital age, social networking sites are an essential tool for health educators to promote and spread awareness about health issues that may be plaguing society. Internet communications, such as social media, offer tremendous opportunities for modifying health because it allows people of all demographics to access health information. The present study examined the effectiveness of health public service announcement (PSAs) videos on social media and examined how the heuristics of social media “likes” may play a role in how social media users perceive these health messages. To assess how health messages on social media are perceived, this thesis used an experimental design (N = 272). This study could not find statistical support for the hypotheses that subjects were likely to show more favorable attitudes, self-efficacious behaviors, perceived norms, or intentions when exposed to health messages that displayed a high amount of social media “likes.” Results indicated, however, that attitudes (F(1, 270) = 162.38, p < .001) perceptions of self-efficacy (F(1, 270) = 347.69, p < .001), and perceived social norms (F(1,270) = 139.25, p < .001) were related to intentions to exercise, as predicted by the Theory of Planned Behavior. The results of this study indicate that health messages in the context of social media are extremely complex, and deserve future attention in literature.

Access

Open Access

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