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Media Content, Impact of

  • By: James D. Robinson & Ronda Scantlin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Health communication scholars are interested in the way health and health issues are portrayed in the mass media for a variety of reasons. This concern stems from the recognition that people can and do learn about health issues from the mass media. Consequently they spend a great deal of time assessing what health information is available to the audience, the accuracy of that information, and the prominence or frequency with which an issue appears in the mass media. Finally, scholars also examine how media portrayals impact audience members and the conditions under which media influence is likely to occur.

Simple presence or absence of a health issue in the mass media is of concern because each instance represents opportunities to raise audience awareness about particular ...

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