Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of Communication Studies

Language

English

Abstract

To elucidate the Chinese public’s awareness of cancer and its possible prevention, we investigated cancer-prevention messages presented on Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese social media platform, with reference to the extended parallel process model (EPPM) and attribution theory. With a sample of 16,654 cancer-related messages, we analyzed whether the messages acknowledged cancer’s threat, indicated collective or individual efficacy in preventing cancer, and attributed cancer to known causes. Results revealed that 4,545 of the messages (27.3%) mentioned cancer prevention, 127 (2.8%) described the severity of the threat of cancer, and 1,622 (35.7%) emphasized people’s susceptibility to cancer. Relative to messages indicating collective efficacy in cancer prevention (n = 523, 11.5%) and environmental causes of cancer (n = 34, 0.75%), messages indicating individual efficacy (n = 3,647, 79.8%) and individual causes (n = 1,505, 33.3%) were far more prevalent. Our findings illuminate Chinese people’s beliefs about cancer prevention as well as indicate potential effects of social media messages on individuals’ cancerprevention beliefs and behaviors according to the premises of the EPPM and attribution theory. In closing, we discuss what our findings imply for theory construction and cancerprevention campaigns.

Keywords

extended parallel process model, attribution theory, cancer-prevention messages, social media, Weibo

Publication Date

2019

Source Publication Title

International Journal of Communication

Volume

13

Start Page

1959

End Page

1976

Publisher

University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

ISSN (print)

19328036

Included in

Communication Commons

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