Schadenfreude After Watching the News: How Audiences Respond to Media Coverage of Partisans Disclosing Illnesses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

When public figures make announcements about their illness, audiences may be influenced to change their own health behaviors. However, if a disliked political figure becomes ill, feelings of schadenfreude, or pleasure at another’s misfortune, may arise and schadenfreude could predict news consumer’s information seeking and health-related intentions. Surveys of audience responses to news of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh’s lung cancer diagnosis (N = 414) and to news of Republican Senator Rand Paul’s COVID-19 diagnosis (N = 407) found that such illness announcements can evoke schadenfreude, with schadenfreude associated with decreased willingness to undertake preventative health behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournalism and Mass Communication Quarterly
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

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