Much research has investigated what happens when celebrities disclose an illness (via media) to the public. While audience involvement (i.e., identification and parasocial relationships) is often the proposed mechanism linking illness disclosures with audience behavior change, survey designs have prevented researchers from understanding if audience involvement prior to the illness disclosure actually predicts post-disclosure emotions, cognitions, and behaviors. Rooted in previous work on audience involvement as well as the Extended Parallel Process Model, the present study uses a national online experiment (N = 1,068) to test how pre-disclosure audience involvement may initiate post-disclosure effects for the message context of skin cancer. The data demonstrate that pre-disclosure audience involvement as well as the celebrity’s framing of the disclosure can shape emotional responses (i.e., fear and hope), and that cognitive perceptions of the illness itself also influence behavioral intentions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)