Health in the news media – framing effects of health-related media

People make judgements of personal risk for health problems based on information they obtain from news media, for instance cancer incidence reports in news broadcasts or obesity-prevention strategies from newspapers. There is, however, substantial evidence showing that incidence reports in the media are not in line with evidence from epidemiological research, or that news media reports on obesity are allowing people to make efficacious efforts to prevent illness en disease. Furthermore, there is evidence that the negative effects of news media reports on (un)healthy behaviours are particularly pronounced in people with lower socio-economic background and/or low health literacy levels. In this project, we study how framing of public health issues (e.g. individual responsibility versus societal responsibility) influences health behaviour (physical activity, diet, smoking) and their psychological predictors (motivation, self-efficacy, risk perception), how these are moderated by individual characteristics (health literacy), and how these influence subsequent health media choices and health status.

Research team: Dr. Gert-Jan de Bruijn (projectleader)
Prof. Julia van Weert
Prof. Claes de Vreese
Status: Start in 2016
Funding: Amsterdam School of Communication Research/ASCoR