Issue Vol. 6, No. 4 / October 2010

Special Issue: Communicating Health: People, Culture and Context
Guest Editors: Shuang Liu & Guo-Ming Chen
Editor Introduction
Communicating Health: People, Culture and Context
Author(s): Shuang Liu and Guo-Ming Chen
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[China Media Research. 2010; 6(4):1-2]
Stigmatizing HIV/AIDS in the 21st Century? Newspaper Coverage of HIV/AIDS in China
Author(s): Chunbo Ren, Stacey J.T. Hust, and Peng Zhang
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According to plans released by the State Council of China, the government intends to use the mass media to deliver information about HIV/AIDS in hopes of increasing awareness and promoting HIV/AIDS prevention. Despite these proactive efforts, over the past three decades, HIV/AIDS has become one of the most stigmatized diseases in China. The current study analyzes Chinese newspaper articles about HIV/AIDS to determine in what ways the coverage discusses anti-stigmas or stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS. The content of these articles indicate that the Chinese media frame HIV/AIDS in stigmatizing terms, even when they discuss anti-stigma efforts. The journalists’ selection of metaphors, photos, and terminology serves to further demonize the disease rather than disseminating current medical knowledge about the transmission and treatment of the disease. This is particularly salient given that most scholars agree that China is at great risk for an AIDS epidemic. [China Media Research. 2010; 6(4):3-14]
Television Viewing and Taiwanese Adolescent Girls’ Perceptions of Body Image
Author(s): Yan Bing Zhang and Shu-Chin Lien
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This study examined the influences of adolescent girls’ (N = 301) television viewing, self-esteem, internalizations of societal ideals, and body weight on their perceptions of body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness. Supporting our hypotheses, analysis of variance results indicated that high school girls’ internalizations of the societal thin ideals influenced their body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness regardless of their television viewing behaviors and self-esteem. That said, television viewing influenced high school girls’ body dissatisfaction in important ways. For those who had low self-esteem and heavy body weight, heavy television viewing was a double dosage to their body dissatisfaction. Similarly, for those heavy viewers, low self-esteem contributed negatively to their body satisfaction. Results are discussed in light of cultivation theory and prior literature on body images and health of adolescents. [China Media Research. 2010; 6(4):15-23]
Press Coverage of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and the Socio-cultural Barriers That Inhibit Media Coverage
Author(s): Levi Obijiofor
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Ever since the outbreak of the HIV/AIDS, a culture of apathy has developed in the media and in the Nigerian public over this public health problem. The initial attitude is that HIV/AIDS is not an “African disease” and therefore does not warrant serious attention. What emerged in the early years of the virus was that the Nigerian public space did not seem to accommodate discussions on the causes, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS infection. This paper analyses the Nigerian press coverage of HIV/AIDS between December 2009 and May 2010 in order to understand how the press framed HIV/AIDS. The paper also examines socio-cultural factors that inform press reports and the public attitude to HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. [China Media Research. 2010; 6(4):24-31].
Media Coverage of Health Issues: A Study of Advertorials in the Slovene Daily Newspapers
Author(s): Melita Poler Kovačič, Zala Volčič, and Karmen Erjavec,
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This paper studies commercial messages about health-related issues which are published in the form of news, yet they are not labeled as advertising. The authors combine a textual analysis of unlabeled health-related advertorials published by three most-read Slovene quality daily newspapers with in-depth interviews with advertorials’ main producers. They uncover textual characteristics of advertorials, their production practice and the producers’ explanations and justifications for participating in this unethical/illegal practice. Advertorials privilege the pharmaceutical-commercial view on health, preventing any critical/negative information to be published about advertisers. Thus, newspapers renounce their role of accurately and impartially informing their readers about matters in public interest. [China Media Research. 2010; 6(4):32-42]
A Content Analysis of Online Social Support Behaviors of Overseas Chinese Prenatal and Postnatal Women
Author(s): Yuxia Qian and Yuping Mao
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This study addresses the health concerns and online social support behaviors of overseas Chinese prenatal and postnatal women. A content analysis was conducted on 429 posts of an online maternity message board, created and moderated mainly by overseas Chinese. The results indicate that the majority of the online posts are related to giving informational support in the form of personal experiences. The first-hand experiences provide the online community members with personalized information to supplement physicians’ advice. The major topics include baby pictures/videos, personal narratives, and medical issues. The major types of social support are informational support, followed by emotional support. The study answers the call to take into account marginalized cultural voices in health communication. [China Media Research. 2010; 6(4):43-54]
Effects of News Representations on Attitudes toward People Living with HIV/AIDS: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Taiwan and Hong Kong
Author(s): Mei-Ling Hsu and Hao-Chieh Chang
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This study examines how news representations and individuals’ inherent and cultural differences affect their attitudes toward people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). A 4 (news framing of the transmission route) X 2 (gender) X 2 (place of residence) experimental design was used with 968 young adults from Taiwan and Hong Kong. Four dependent variables were examined under two general dimensions: individual views on PLWHA’s rights, and attitudes toward PLWHA. The results show that the participants tended to express positive attitudes toward all dependent variables except PLWHA’s rights to marriage and birth-giving. Significant main effects of all three independent variables were observed on the combined dependent variables. Subsequent univariate analyses were conducted to shed more light on the supportive attitudes of individuals toward PLWHA’s rights. In addition, participants’ attitudes toward homosexuality better predicted their support for PLWHA than their fear of infection. The implications of these findings were discussed. [China Media Research. 2010; 6(4):55-68]
Public Risk Perceptions, Communications, and Trust: a Comparison of the SARS and the Novel Influenza H1N1 Outbreaks in Taiwan
Author(s): Ying Ying Tsai
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This article compares the perceptions of risk, fear, and the level of trust in sources of information held by the public about the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the novel H1N1 influenza. Two data sets were gathered through telephone investigations representing a sample of the population of Taiwan over the age of 15 in 2004 and 2009. The results indicate that the SARS was the leading fear risk during both epidemics. This article suggests that there is diversity surrounding the trustworthiness of health risk information sources for various emerging infectious diseases and the need to investigate further. [China Media Research. 2010; 6(4):69-79]
Social Media and Participatory Risk Communication during the H1N1 Flu Epidemic: A Comparative Study of the United States and China
Author(s): Huiling Ding, Jingwen Zhang
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Despite the wide applaud about social media’s capacity to allow public participation in content creation and circulation, they do not automatically ensure open and transparent communication because of institutional and cultural constraints. Our study of the use of social media during the H1N1 flu epidemic in the U.S. and China demonstrates that governmental apparatuses may use social media tools for one-way dissemination of risk decisions and policies or limited two-way risk communication. In contrast, the general public may circumvent the institutional control of risk information through extra-institutional participatory risk communication to find out truths about the emerging risks. [China Media Research. 2010; 6(4): 80-91]
An Inoculation-Based Approach for Developing Efficacious Strategies for Resisting Cigarette Initiation among Chinese Male Youth
Author(s): Hao-Chieh Chang and Vivian C Sheer
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Tobacco-related deaths are increasingly becoming a public health challenge in China. Chinese men, 67% of them smoke, rarely quit tobacco use successfully. The priority of reducing smoking prevalence reasonably shifts to smoking prevention among Chinese male youth. As social smoking is a top reason for future addictive tobacco consumption, an inoculation-based intervention program is outlined to specifically enhance male teenagers’ selfefficacy in resisting cigarette initiation. Systematic research procedures are detailed to generate culturally appropriate interpersonal strategies to resist cigarette initiation effectively. [China Media Research. 2010; 6(4):92-99]
Communication in Rural Trauma Medicine: A Practice/Art unto Itself
Author(s): Theodore A. Avtgis and E. Phillips Polack
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This article traces a longitudinal multidisciplinary effort on integrating effective information exchange and competent communication among rural trauma medical team members working within an entire statewide rural trauma network system. Curricula for both concise exchange of patient information and competent communication were developed and tested. Results indicate the longitudinal knowledge retention of both the medical and communication curricula. Further, trauma facilities receiving both medical information exchange and communication training had significant decreases in the time it takes to effectively treat and transfer rural trauma patients. The medical and communication groups showed the greatest time decrease. Implications for the crosscultural applications of both curricula are discussed. [China Media Research. 2010; 6(4):100-108]
Got Juice? A Test of Health-Related Information Processing
Author(s): Chia-Hsin Pan
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The present study investigated the conjoint effects of individual thinking styles, Web-based health message sources, and strategies on participants’ information processing and subsequent attitude and behavior changes. A 2 × 2 (rationality × discounting cue) factorial design was employed to examine immediate and delayed treatment effects. Results revealed a short-term interaction effect on attitude change toward healthy diets. However, neither long-term effect on attitude change nor effect on behavior change emerged. Applications on health promotions were suggested. [China Media Research. 2010; 6(4):109-116]
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