Author

Minhee Choi

Date of Award

Summer 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

School of Journalism and Mass Communications

First Advisor

Brooke W. McKeever

Abstract

Gun violence has been a major threat to the United States in recent decades. Through the concept of media advocacy from health communication and mass communication literature, this dissertation used an experiment with 331 respondents to test the strategic value of public health framing and certain types of mobilizing information on social media as part of the media advocacy process, including how those elements may lead to attitudinal and behavioral responses related to gun-related policies. Political orientation and gun ownership were examined as potential moderating factors that affect individuals’ perceptions of public health framing. Finding provide public health framing is an effective message strategy to influence individuals’ attitudinal changes on gun-related policies. In addition, this study found that participants were more likely to engage with online activism when exposed to call-to-action hashtags. Call-to-action hashtags provide individuals specific directions on how they can be involved with the issue, much like tactical mobilizing information. Practical implications are discussed for gun safety advocacy organizations, communicators, and other health organizations to improve gun safety campaign strategies and tactics in the U.S. by understanding audiences better, shaping strategic messages, and conducting effective campaigns.

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