Getting the ‘Picture’ Out about Zika

Yan Jin, Jeanine Guidry, Caroline Orr, Bart Wojdynski, Yen-I Lee (Grady PhD Student), Jay Adams, Marcus Messner, Shana Meganck, and Kellie Carlyle. “Getting the ‘Picture’ Out about Zika: Effects of Framing, Image Type and Source on Emotions and Intended Preventive Behaviors.”  European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) 2016 Congress, Groningen & Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 29-October 1, 2016.

Abstract: Using a 2 (gain vs. loss message framing) x 2 (photo vs. infographic image type) x 3 (government vs. media vs. peer source)between-subjects experiment with a representative sample of 559 adults in the United States, this study examined the effects of message framing, image types, and source of Zika-focused messages on publics’ emotional responses and intentions to follow recommended preventive actions. The key findings include: 1) Gain-framed Zika messages using an infographic seem to trigger more anxiety but less optimism, compared to messages using a photo; 2) Gain-framed Zika messages, regardless of image type, tend to lead to more feelings of detachment, compared to loss-framed messages; and 3) Anxiety, detachment, and optimism mediate the relationship between Zika message characteristics and behavioral intention, such that the loss-framed messages using a photo appeared to be most effective in indirectly increasing behavioral intention, via increased anxiety and decreased sense of detachment. Insights from this study could help improve the design of visual social media messages about infectious disease outbreaks, capitalizing on the most effective message characteristics and their emotional impact.
Yan Jin  Bartosz Wojdynski 

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