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Effects of Heuristic-Systematic Information Processing About the Flu and the Flu Vaccination
Social Sciences
Volume 7, Issue 6, December 2018, Pages: 260-267
Received: Sep. 14, 2018; Accepted: Sep. 29, 2018; Published: Oct. 29, 2018
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SangHee Park, Department of Communication, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, USA
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Every year at least 10 million people get the flu. However, despite receiving flu vaccination campaign messages every year, the majority of the U.S. population does not annually receive the flu vaccination. People have different levels of risk perception of hazardous events based on their knowledge and experiences. Accordingly, this study examined the different ways in which individuals perceive risks and benefits through exposure to health information campaigns. In doing so, this study employed risk perception theory and the heuristic-systematic model (HSM) as a theoretical foundation in order to explore risk perceptions of the flu and the flu vaccination as an antecedent to attitude. This study examined not only how people process different types of risk information regarding the flu, but also how different sources of health information affect perceptions of the flu and the flu vaccination. This study applied a 2 (Message framing: heuristic information message vs. systematic information message) by 2 (expert source vs. non-expert source) online experiment. In doing so, this study manipulated heuristic/systematic information messages and expert/non-expert sources. This study found that risk perception of the flu illness was positively related to benefit perception of the flu vaccination. Heuristic messages affected risk perception of the flu vaccination, but not flu illness perception. The level of capacity for interpreting information and individuals’ motivation can affect perceptions of the flu and the flu vaccination. Therefore, this study suggested that heuristic messages with expert’s recommendations has the greatest impact on beneficial information processing. Additionally, these findings indicate that health campaigns need to discuss the benefits of the flu and the flu vaccination based on scientific evidence in order to increase awareness of flu illness.
Heuristic-Systematic Model (HSM), Risk Perception, Information Processing, Health Communication, Flu, Flu Vaccination
To cite this article
SangHee Park, Effects of Heuristic-Systematic Information Processing About the Flu and the Flu Vaccination, Social Sciences. Vol. 7, No. 6, 2018, pp. 260-267. doi: 10.11648/
Copyright © 2018 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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