The prior project demonstrated dramatic media under-coverage of alcohol's role in crime and injury. This study will take a crucial next step-demonstrating through controlled experiment the impact of media coverage of alcohol's role in crime and injury. We will do so using a random sample of U.S. newspaper stories about crime and unintended injury. We will also utilize a national participant population reflecting U.S. demographic norms, to further increase the generalizability and potential public impact of our results. Stories will be experimentally manipulated into versions with and without mention of alcohol as a causal factor in the crime or accident. Outcomes will examine concern about alcohol-related risks and on support for alcohol-control policies. We will also assess possible psychological mechanisms for the effects of these news stories as well as for the effects of alcohol advertisements, following up encouraging preliminary study results in our laboratory. In particular, we will examine impact of advertisements on automatically-activated attitudes and evaluative conditioning mechanisms on young adults'alcohol risk perceptions and willingness to engage in risky alcohol-related behaviors, using an experimental design intended to replicate many of the contextual elements of actual television viewing behavior.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed research has the potential to provide definitive evidence regarding the impact of reporters'and editors'choice to include or exclude information about alcohol's role in crime or injury. Our prior work suggests this helps shape alcohol risk perceptions and alcohol-control policy support in the U.S. population. Such findings might be used to influence journalism practice by media advocates and journalism faculty in journalism training programs. Moreover, the further examination of psychological mechanisms behind advertising as well as news effects may provide an increasingly convincing account of how and why advertisements may influence risk-taking behavior among adolescents and young adults, with potentially significant public-policy ramifications.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Project (R01)
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Community-Level Health Promotion Study Section (CLHP)
Program Officer
Bloss, Gregory
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Ohio State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Slater, Michael D; Hayes, Andrew F; Chung, Adrienne H (2015) Injury news coverage, relative concern, and support for alcohol-control policies: an impersonal impact explanation. J Health Commun 20:51-9
Slater, Michael D (2015) Reinforcing Spirals Model: Conceptualizing the Relationship Between Media Content Exposure and the Development and Maintenance of Attitudes. Media Psychol 18:370-395
Lee, Ji Young; Slater, Michael D; Tchernev, John (2015) Self-Deprecating Humor Versus Other-Deprecating Humor in Health Messages. J Health Commun 20:1185-95
Slater, Michael D; Peter, Jochen; Valkenberg, Patti (2015) Message Variability and Heterogeneity: A Core Challenge for Communication Research. Commun Yearb 39:3-31
Lee, Chul-Joo; Long, Marilee; Slater, Michael D et al. (2014) Comparing local TV news with national TV news in cancer coverage: an exploratory content analysis. J Health Commun 19:1330-42
Slater, Michael D (2013) Content Analysis as a Foundation for Programmatic Research in Communication. Commun Methods Meas 7:85-93
Solloway, Tyler; Slater, Michael D; Chung, Adrienne et al. (2013) Anger, Sadness and Fear in Response to Breaking Crime and Accident News Stories: How Emotions Influence Support for Alcohol-Control Public Policies via Concern about Risks. J Media Psychol 25:160-170
Goodall, Catherine E; Slater, Michael D; Myers, Teresa A (2013) Fear and Anger Responses to Local News Coverage of Alcohol-Related Crimes, Accidents, and Injuries: Explaining News Effects on Policy Support Using a Representative Sample of Messages and People. J Commun 63:373-392
Slater, Michael D; Hayes, Andrew F; Goodall, Catherine E et al. (2012) Increasing support for alcohol-control enforcement through news coverage of alcohol's role in injuries and crime. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 73:311-5
Slater, Michael D; Kelly, Kathleen J; Lawrence, Frank R et al. (2011) Assessing media campaigns linking marijuana non-use with autonomy and aspirations: ""Be Under Your Own Influence"" and ONDCP's ""Above the Influence"". Prev Sci 12:12-22

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