This experiment integrated theory from multiple domains to examine how aspects of news coverage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and differences in participants’ cognitive and emotional contingent conditions interact to shape attitudes and behavioral intentions toward health care legislation. Using a sample of uninsured young adults (N = 1,056), we tested an affective mediation model, which assessed the mechanisms through which media frames, exemplar case studies, and individual predispositions affect this type of news consumer. Results demonstrate the complicated pathways through which emotions mediate the effects of news coverage of ACA based on political predispositions, the need for orientation toward the health care issue, and the influence of equivalency framing in the form of example cases. These findings contribute to a more nuanced explanation of the causal mechanisms underpinning framing effects of public policy news coverage on an understudied population. The need for further examination of emotion along with cognition when investigating framing effects of public policy news is discussed, and the importance of exemplar cases as a significant manifestation of the effects equivalence framing is highlighted.
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