Esther Thorson

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This article reports on a public health campaign that aims to promote social ties and social trust as a means to improve the health of youths. Analyses on data from telephone survey interviews at baseline, Year 1, and Year 2 consider the trends and predictor patterns of 2 traditional social capital measures-civic perceptions and civic participation. Civic(More)
Referring to literature in sociology, mass communication, and public health, we conceptualize and operationally define "health social capital" and "individual health social capital" and then posit and test a model for its development in response to a public health media campaign. The campaign evaluated here was designed to stimulate behaviors that would(More)
This article addresses the question of how people process news photographs and news stories as a function of their scores on 2 scales designed to measure 2 “cognitive styles” called visualizing and verbalizing. Although newspaper practitioners believe news photos enhance the newspaper reading process, research has not demonstrated a clearly positive impact.(More)
This study tests whether the impact of alcohol advertising exposure on intentions to drink and actual consumption is mediated by cognitive responses to advertising messages and positive expectancies about alcohol use. The model was tested using survey data of two important age cohorts, 15 to 20 years (n=608) and 21 to 29 years (n=612). The findings show(More)
The authors examine how crime and violence is reported and framed by the Los Angeles Times. Using a public health perspective, we examine whether health-oriented variables, such as causal factors and societal effects of crimes, are present in crime news stories. The classic stereotyping of crime and violence framing is strongly present in the Times. We(More)
The purpose of this study is to examine whether changing the way newspaper stories report crime and violence can induce shifts in readers' perceptions of the problem. Using an experiment that manipulates the framing and graphic presentation of newspaper stories on crime and violence, we seek to discover whether the public health model that calls for news(More)
This study examines whether changing the way news stories report on health can induce shifts in readers' perceptions of problems of obesity, diabetes, immigrant health, and smoking. The authors manipulated two variables in a controlled experiment: the quality of sourcing-the number of sources and their expertise-and the framing-changing from an episodic,(More)
The relationship between local news media and public perceptions of food safety was examined in a statewide telephone survey (n = 524). The theoretical framework of the study was based on a review of the social and psychological factors that affect public concerns about food safety, the relationship between mass communication and risk perception, and the(More)