Understanding Truth in Health Communication

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 26 (4):263-282 (2011)
This study examines truthfulness through eight dimensions to explicate truth in health communication and explores the relationships between message truthfulness and message attributes and audience characteristics. A content analysis of 974 television antismoking ads from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveals a high degree of truthfulness. Message truthfulness is related to thematic frames, emotion appeals, source, age, social role and smoking status, and positive framing of consequences. Ads targeted at teens/youth and smokers tend to have lower message truthfulness than ads targeting older age groups and non-smokers. Ads with humor and fear appeals are found to be less truthful.
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DOI 10.1080/08900523.2011.581972
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