The impact of emotion‐based mass media campaigns on stigma toward cervical screening non participation

Angela Wearn, Lee Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive impact of mass media coverage of cancer on screening rates. In this online experiment, we assessed the influence of different types of mass media news articles (factual vs. emotive narratives) on cervical cancer screening intentions. We also tested the process through which mass media news articles influence screening intention. Participants (N = 141) were randomly allocated to receive either a news article containing factual information about screening, a news article containing an emotive narrative about a nonfamous woman who died after not being screened, or no information about screening. Participants, then, completed measures of stigma, fear, shame, and screening intention. Stigma toward people who had not been screened (i.e., public stigma) was greater when participants received an emotive narrative rather than factual information or no information. Moreover, we found a significant indirect effect of the manipulation on screening intention via public stigma. These results indicated that the emotive news article increased public stigma, which in turn predicted screening intention. Based on this, we argue that it is important to carefully consider the type of narrative that is included in mass media articles to ensure that it does not stigmatize people who have not been screened.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-298
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number5
Early online date28 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


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