Effects of Media Framing of Obesity Among Adolescents

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This article examined the effects of media framing of obesity on adolescents’ causal attributions, causal beliefs, and evaluations of health messages. The goal was to understand what types of messages are most effective in communicating the risks of obesity, leading to changes in beliefs and attitudes. To do so, an experiment was conducted with a 2x2 between-subject factorial design, with the factors being frames (episodic vs. thematic) and valences (positive vs. negative). The dependent variables were message attitude, causal attribution, and individual and societal causal beliefs. Results indicated that those exposed to the episodic frame, compared to the thematic frame, were more likely to attribute the cause of obesity to individuals and evaluate the messages more positively. Message valence, however, had limited impact. These results have both theoretical and practical implications.

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