To Vet, or Not: That Is the Process: Scale Development for Measuring Individuals’ Information Vetting

Accepted for presentation at the International Communication Association (ICA) Conference, Information Systems Division, May 21-25, 2020, Gold Coast, Australia.

Abstract: To refine the conceptualization and operationalization of information vetting in an increasingly complex and conflicting media environment, this study developed and tested a 26-item scale for measuring whether (and if so, how) individuals vet information in the context of a crisis embedded with conflicting information, employing two survey data sets based on U.S. adult samples. Four clusters of information vetting behaviors were rendered, affirming and extending the two-stage information vetting conceptual framework: (1) motivation, (2) primary vetting in terms of source perception, (3) primary vetting in terms of channel perception, and (4) secondary vetting in terms of subjective feeling about self. This new scale’s validity and reliability were further assessed and confirmed, making it a useful tool for measuring individuals’ online informational and communicative behavior in times of crisis, conflict, and other contentious issues that trigger the urgency for information vetting before its full consumption and further dissemination.

Health Risk Tolerance as a Key Determinant of (Un)willingness to Behavior Change: Conceptualization and Scale Development

Abstract: As Heath and O’Hair (2009) defined, crisis is when risk is manifested. The urgency and uncertainty of crisis can induce more complexity to organizations (Seeger, Sellnow, & Ulmer, 1998). Public health crisis and risk communications are tasked to communicate about risks that can harm public health and persuade the public to adopt healthier and less risky behavior (Freimuth, Linnan, & Potter, 2000). Although risk perception itself has been extensively studied, it remains unclear how individuals choose not to modify unhealthy behaviors despite their awareness of the benefits of changing such behaviors. To further unearth the psychological process of refusal to change, our study introduces and explicates the concept of risk tolerance as a key determinant of individuals’ (un)willingness to modify unhealthy behaviors. Risk tolerance, a concept originally developed in management and financial planning, is defined in our study as how much individuals tolerate not to follow the recommended healthy behavior. To refine the conceptualization and develop a scale measuring health risk tolerance, a multi-phase, multi-method research design is employed.