This study examines the validity of a norm-reinforcement approach as a complementary model to direct media effects on health behavior change. Focusing on news coverage effects on youth binge drinking between 1978 and 1996, it was hypothesized that the media may have contributed to the reduction in this behavior by increasing perceptions of social disapproval. The predictive power of this approach was then compared with that of other plausible models (namely, a direct effect model and a model proposing media effects that are mediated by policy actions). The findings from two separate tests (a time-series regression and the ideodynamic method) suggest that although a direct route of media effects on binge-drinking behavior produced evidence of null effects, there was evidence that the impact of news stories on this behavior was mediated by policy actions as well as by changes in the social acceptability of this behavior. Implications of this approach to the study of media effects on health behavior change are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language