Jessica Gall Myrick

Jessica Gall Myrick
Pennsylvania State University | Penn State · Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications

PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

About

82
Publications
21,109
Reads
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1,247
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2013 - May 2017
Indiana University Bloomington
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (82)
Article
Full-text available
Emotionally evocative public service announcements are one way that public health advocates hope to persuade people to take action against skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the United States. This article describes an experiment (N = 193) to test the ways mixed emotional appeals influence communication and health outcomes. The data ind...
Article
Full-text available
A between-subjects experiment (N = 531) studied the juxtaposition of programming from the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week with shark conservation public service announcements (PSAs). Cultivation and priming theories provided a conceptual framework for testing how shark-on-human violence paired with different types of PSAs (celebrity endorser present...
Article
Full-text available
Social network sites (SNSs) like Twitter continue to attract users, many of whom turn to these spaces for social support for serious illnesses like cancer. Building on literature that explored the functionality of online spaces for health-related social support, we propose a typology that situates this type of support in an SNS-based open cancer co...
Article
Full-text available
Background and Objectives Because of high skin cancer risks for young women, it is vital that effective interventions reach and influence this demographic. Visual social media platforms, like Instagram, are popular with young women and are an appropriate intervention site; yet, they also host competing images idealizing tan skin. The present study...
Article
Full-text available
Green consumerism is a growing trend that may contribute to a more sustainable society. However, lack of motivation to pursue a green lifestyle might subject consumers to well-documented moral licensing effects. Moreover, individuals with conservative ideological leanings are also less predisposed to take environmentally friendly actions, suggestin...
Article
Physical inactivity has become an increasingly important concern for public health. “Fitspiration” social media posts may influence attitudes and intentions toward exercising. An online survey (N = 485) was conducted to examine the potential for fitspiration content from weak and strong ties to shape user emotions, attitudes, norms and behaviors re...
Article
As the United States continues to be ravaged by COVID-19, it becomes increasingly important to implement effective public health campaigns to improve personal behaviors that help control the spread of the virus. To design effective campaigns, research is needed to understand the current mitigation intentions of the general public, diversity in thos...
Article
Purpose: To explore public confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: A rural college town in central Pennsylvania. Subjects: Adult residents without minor children. Measures: The primary outcome was COVID-19 vaccination intention. Secondary measures included vaccination attitudes, norms, efficacy, past beha...
Article
While staying at home is crucial for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, there is concern that such public health measures may increase the risk for child maltreatment (CM). Using a qualitative content analysis of news coverage and a quantitative survey (N = 250) of media consumers, this study explored the framing of CM as an issue during COVID-19,...
Article
The present study explores how companies use social media messages to communicate about the dangers of plastic pollution. Drawing from the emotions-as-frames model and the limited capacity model of motivated mediated message processing (LC4MP), this experiment identifies the effects of two message features (emotional frames: fear/hope, efficacy: lo...
Presentation
Full-text available
An experiment looking at the psychological effects of using mobile devices with in a posture of spinal flexion compared to a straight neutral posture.
Article
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...
Article
Background: Knowledge of its potential cancer risk is often not enough to motivate individuals to avoid indoor tanning. Previous research has found that emotions toward indoor tanning and appearance motivations may prompt people to continue despite the risks. Methods: We conducted two online surveys of US young adult women. Study one included a...
Article
Rationale On March 11, 2020, actor Tom Hanks announced via social media that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Previous research has found celebrity illness disclosures to influence behavior, but during the uncertainty of a pandemic, the effects of such a disclosure were unclear. Objective To test the proposed Celebrity Illness Disclosure Effec...
Article
Purpose Because rural residents, particularly those near mining sites, are susceptible to numerous environmental health hazards, it is important to gain deeper insights into their use and trust of health information, which they may employ to help recognize symptoms, learn ways to reduce exposure, or find health care. Methods We surveyed residents...
Article
Full-text available
Background and Objectives : Stress is a ubiquitous aspect of modern life that affects both mental and physical health. Clinical care settings can be particularly stressful for both patients and providers. Kindness and compassion are buffers for the negative effects of stress, likely through strengthening positive interpersonal connection. In previo...
Article
Given the vast amounts of COVID-19-related messages flooding mediated and interpersonal communication channels during the global pandemic, celebrity COVID-19 disclosures offer rare opportunities to cut through message fatigue and apathy and garner the attention of wide swaths of the public. We conducted a convergent mixed method analysis of audienc...
Preprint
As the United States continues to be ravaged by COVID-19, it becomes increasingly important to implement effective public health campaigns to improve personal behaviors that help control the spread of the virus. To design effective campaigns, research is needed to understand the current mitigation intentions of the general public, diversity in thos...
Preprint
Introduction An effective vaccine for COVID-19 is only of value if the public has confidence in taking it. There is little data on COVID-19-specific vaccine confidence or its determinants in the United States. The objective of this study was to determine public confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine. Methods A cross-sectional survey of Pennsylvanian adu...
Article
Full-text available
Background Research has pointed to a connection between social media use, emotions, and tanning behaviors. However, less is known about the role specific emotions may play in influencing social media use and how emotions and social media use may each be associated with outdoor tanning. Objective This paper aims to examine the connection between em...
Article
Although likability and parasocial relationships (PSRs) typically go hand in hand, people can dislike media figures they are bonded to, or they can feel disconnected from media figures that they like. To examine the interplay of PSRs and liking, an experiment investigated responses to celebrities who made sexual harassment allegations against produ...
Article
This study examines local and national news coverage of hurricane-related flooding, including storm surge and coastal flooding during the weather event and subsequent inland flooding. Understanding the nature of media messaging regarding flooding related to hurricanes is crucial to not only identifying implications for broader social dynamics in an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Critical Zone (CZ), the near surface more portion of the terrestrial Earth is a complex concept that plays a pivotal role in the food-energy-water nexus. Due to its complexity, the concept of the CZ and its components are not well understood by society. Challenges range from imagining the invisible (the soil, rock, and water beneath us) to unde...
Article
Full-text available
To date, there has been relatively little published research on the mental health impacts of COVID-19 for the general public at the beginning of the U.S.’ experience of the pandemic, or the factors associated with stress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic growth during this time. The current study provides a longitudinal examination of the pr...
Conference Paper
The critical zone (CZ) plays a pivotal role in the food-energy-water nexus, yet in its entirety, it is not well understood by society. Challenges range from imagining the invisible (from bedrock to soil) to understanding complex relations between the involved components. We have launched a transdisciplinary project driven by immersive technologies...
Article
Fitness tracking applications have demonstrated to be viable tools to help people meet the recommended guidelines of physical activity. Nevertheless, attrition rates of these applications are high. This indicates the need to thoroughly understand the unique motivations of users of these applications. Most importantly, why do these users turn to mHe...
Article
The year 2017 was an historic season for hurricanes devastating the United States. Related news coverage brought people close to the impacts of these natural disasters through evocative stories of people acting as heroes and villains, showing humanity at its best and worst. The current study experimentally tested the potential for these news storie...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Research has pointed to a connection between social media use, emotions, and tanning behaviors. However, less is known about the role specific emotions may play in influencing social media use and how emotions and social media use may each be associated with outdoor tanning. OBJECTIVE This paper aims to examine the connection between em...
Article
This study investigates the role of media in shaping human papilloma virus vaccination intentions in mainland China by applying both communication and marketing-focused theoretical frameworks in order to better understand ways to increase vaccine uptake across young men and women in China. An online survey (N = 359) revealed direct effects of onlin...
Article
Since the inception of the My Favorite Murder podcast in January 2016, cohosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark have built an empowered fanbase that tunes in weekly to hear a true-crime/comedy mashup. The present study analyzed what draws MFM listeners with a mental illness diagnosis to the podcast and how they utilize related social media pla...
Article
Full-text available
Televised coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games featured a record number of female athletes competing. However, NBC and its commentators faced public scrutiny for their use of sexist language in discussing these athletes. A within-subjects experiment (N = 78) featuring NBC video of three different 2016 Olympic events tested the relationship bet...
Article
A nationally representative sample (N = 1050) responded to a survey testing possible connections between Americans' attention to media about President Donald J. Trump's preference for fast food, their perceptions of Trump, and public perceptions and behavioral intentions regarding fast food consumption. This survey utilized measures aimed at integr...
Article
News coverage of climate change has expanded beyond a focus on science to include stories relating the topic to religion, particularly following Pope Francis’ 2015 call for Catholics to address climate change as a moral responsibility. We tested how effective Pope Francis is as a messenger on the topic of climate change. A 2 (Pope: present or absen...
Article
As a rise in anti-elite populist sentiment becomes an increasingly notable object of study in political realms, it is important to also consider how populism operates outside the electoral sphere. Americans’ support for climate change-related policy has been understood primarily in a political affiliation context, with Democrats likely to support s...
Article
When a celebrity dies and news coverage repeatedly pays homages to the celebrity’s life, it is possible that audiences experience nostalgia as they fondly recall past memories of that celebrity. Nostalgia has yet to be examined as a mechanism of audience behavior related to the health condition associated with that celebrity. As such, we proposed a...
Article
Full-text available
This white paper presents a series of perspectives on current and future phytobiome management, discussed at the Wild and Tamed Phytobiomes Symposium in University Park, PA, U.S.A., in June 2018. To enhance plant productivity and health, and to translate lab- and greenhouse-based phytobiome research to field applications, the academic community and...
Article
This study explores the question of how the use of satire, as embedded within the trappings of a traditional news outlet (i.e. a reputable newspaper like the Boston Globe), could influence perceptions of the respective news organization and facets of engagement with it. An online experiment (N = 366) was conducted, offering comparisons both in term...
Article
Much of the extant research on representations of mental illness in the media have focused on stigmatization. The negative effects of these stigmatizing portrayals on individuals with mental illness are serious. However, recent scholarship has identified another phenomenon in the mediated portrayal of mental illness whereby these conditions are tri...
Article
Entertainment media often connect celebrities to potentially dangerous dietary advice that is explicitly at odds with medical opinions about achieving a healthy weight. Despite concern from federal officials about the amount of misleading dietary claims in popular media, many individuals believe and even take up this celebrity-based bad advice. A s...
Article
Objective While research suggests media use is positively associated with skin-damaging behaviours, especially among US college-aged women, less is known about the role of specific media types in potentially promoting indoor or outdoor tanning. Design We used an online survey to examine the relationship between demographic variables, entertainment...
Article
Autonomous vehicles represent an emerging technology with the potential to radically transform everyday life. Yet there is little understanding of how promotional tactics—easy-to-grasp technology labels or pairing the technology with well-known celebrities—influence public perceptions of risk, benefits, and intentions. Therefore, we experimentally...
Article
Objective: This study tested how media, family, and peer sources of health and beauty information predict indoor tanning (IT) beliefs and behavior. Participants: 210 undergraduate women at a state university in the southeastern United States. Methods: Respondents completed a survey about sources of health and beauty information, IT beliefs, an...
Article
Indoor tanning is a risky behavior that dramatically increases skin cancer risk. Researchers from multiple disciplines aim to better understand this behavior to develop interventions and messages to curtail it. As such, we investigated the role of social norms and outcome expectations as predictors of tanning behavior as part of a larger test of co...
Article
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...
Article
Fear appeal research has focused, understandably, on fear as the primary emotion motivating attitude and behavior change. However, while the threat component of fear appeals associates with fear responses, a fear appeals’ efficacy component likely associates with a different emotional experience: hope. Drawing from appraisal theories of emotion in...
Article
Full-text available
A large body of cross-national research grounded in cultivation theory has shown that media use contributes to gender stereotypes across media platforms and content types, including health messages. However, little is known about the relationship between media use and gendered perceptions of diseases. This topic is important for health communicatio...
Article
In recent years beauty companies have produced advertising campaigns purporting to make women feel better about their bodies and reverse the damage of thin-ideal media (e.g., The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty). Despite being celebrated in the popular press for the effort, little is known about how effective these advertisements are at healing issue...
Article
Researchers have documented the ways in which media stigmatize mental illness. However, media also portray mental illness trivially when diseases are mocked, oversimplified, shown to be less severe than in actuality, or represented as beneficial to an individual. Trivialization of mental illnesses could potentially lead audiences to be less likely...
Article
This study combined conceptual frameworks from health information seeking, appraisal theory of emotions, and social determinants of health literatures to examine how emotional states and education predict online health information seeking. Nationally representative data from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 4, Cycle 3) were used...
Article
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...
Article
Full-text available
Based on the previous work investigating public reactions to celebrity cancer deaths as well as on the appraisal theory of emotions, an online survey (N = 641) was conducted after the cancer death of popular sportscaster Stuart Scott. The aim was to better understand how the public shared news and reactions with others and if this social sharing im...
Article
Objective The aim of this study was to analyse social media users’ reactions to a celebrity’s cancer announcement in order to inform future cancer-related campaigns. Design A content analysis of Facebook users’ written responses to the actor Hugh Jackman’s 2013 post announcing his skin cancer diagnosis. Setting Facebook’s application programming...
Article
This study investigates the influence of personalization (moving testimony from ordinary citizens) on reception of news stories about social issues. The data (N = 80) from this mixed-design experiment, collected at two time points, offer evidence that personalized news stories evoked greater feelings of empathy toward and identification with people...
Article
Individuals are increasingly turning to the Internet to search for health information. However, scholarship has yet to carefully examine how online health information seeking contributes to post-search health behaviors, including the sharing of information found during the search with others. Combining insights from the appraisal theory of emotions...
Article
Celebrity cancer deaths can focus public attention on the disease like few events can. However, not all celebrities or their families are open about the exact cause of death. Anecdotal reports suggest that some do not reveal the exact cause of death due to fears of stigma associated with the specific type of cancer. However, empirical evidence rega...
Article
Background: Unlike other types of cancer, skin cancer incidence rates are on the rise and adolescent females are particularly likely to tan indoors, a major risk factor. However, little research has examined the role of media use in encouraging or discouraging this dangerous behavior in this population. Aims: To empirically assess the links betw...
Article
Foot-in-the-door (FITD) involves obtaining compliance with a small request to boost compliance with a larger request. Only a few studies to date have tested the technique in health and fundraising contexts, and even fewer have examined the psychological processes involved. To address these gaps, we conducted an experiment as an actual fundraiser fo...
Article
This experiment (N = 193) explores the effects of cross-cutting exposure via social media on two types of political participation. The results reveal that exposure to cross-cutting social media news can motivate cheap participation better than costly participation. Moreover, the mobilizing effects of cross-cutting exposure are mediated by anger and...
Article
Research indicates that when people seek health information, they typically look for information about a specific symptom, preventive measure, disease, or treatment. It is unclear, however, whether general or disease-specific theoretical models best predict how people search for health information. We surveyed undergraduates (N = 963) at a large pu...
Article
Tanning bed use before age 35 has been strongly associated with several types of skin cancer. The current study sought to advance an understanding of audience segmentation for indoor tanning among young women. Panhellenic sorority systems at two universities in the Southeastern United States participated in this study. A total of 1,481 young women...
Article
Full-text available
Two trends are prominent and universal to contemporary democracies: Voting rates are in steady decline while media use is growing. A transdisciplinary vantage point might help to redirect research trajectories that lead to alarming conclusions of democratic crisis. To that end, dominant ontological positions will need revision or perhaps replacemen...
Article
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Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have proliferated in recent years despite disagreement about the role of MOOCs in higher education and whether student outcomes are satisfactory. Taking a mixed-methods approach, the current study surveys professors who have taught MOOCs (n = 162) in order to better understand how MOOCs are perceived by instructo...
Article
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A quick search of social media websites demonstrates that users often describe their benign behaviors (e.g., organizing drawers or color-coding) as related to obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Yet, the actual disease is complex and often much more severe than suggested by Twitter users who employ the term #OCD. The present experiment examines th...
Book
Health-related media permeate our modern experience, from using an online search engine to reading a pamphlet about vaccinations at the doctor’s office or watching a television news report on the dangers of sitting too much. This book makes the argument that if prevention-focused health messages are to motivate behavior change, they must tug at the...
Article
Full-text available
Indicators of collective user behavior and opinion are increasingly common features of online news stories and may include information about how the story made users feel. An experiment (N = 298) examined the effects of the presence and valence of a “mood meter” posted alongside an online human-interest story on memory for, attitude toward, emotion...
Article
Full-text available
In order to better understand drivers of dangerous indoor tanning behaviors, researchers developed the Comprehensive Indoor Tanning Expectations scale. To examine the longitudinal effectiveness of Comprehensive Indoor Tanning Expectations, we surveyed young women in the Southeastern United States at two time points (N = 553). The scale demonstrated...
Article
Full-text available
Objective The goal of this study was to take an in-depth look at why college students do (or do not) seek health information, and how they seek information when they do. Design Qualitative content analysis of responses to an open-ended prompt embedded in a survey about health information seeking behaviours. Setting Nearly 700 ( N = 697) college s...
Article
Full-text available
The lack of a theory-based understanding of indoor tanning is a major impediment to the development of effective messages to prevent or reduce this behavior. This study applied the Comprehensive Indoor Tanning Expectations (CITE) scale in an analysis of indoor tanning behavior among sorority women (total N = 775). Confirmatory factor analyses indic...
Article
Full-text available
The present study aimed to examine the public reaction to the death of Steve Jobs, focusing on general and cancer-specific information seeking and interpersonal communication. Shortly after Jobs's death, employees from a large university in the Southeastern United States (N = 1,398) completed a web-based survey. Every employee had heard about Steve...
Article
Full-text available
Although mental illness is a serious public health issue, little is known about the nature of national television news coverage of these medical conditions. The framing of this coverage, the subtopics discussed in stories, and the sources used to tell those stories of mental illness may have a significant impact on attitudes and behaviors tied to d...
Article
Full-text available
Importance Strong links between indoor tanning behavior and skin cancer have been demonstrated across several studies. Understanding the complex belief systems that underlie indoor tanning in young women is a crucial first step in developing interventions to deter this behavior.Objectives To develop and validate a comprehensive, multidimensional,...
Article
Full-text available
Announcements by public figures and celebrities about cancer diagnosis or death represent significant events in public life. But what are the substantive effects of such events, if any? The purpose of this article is to systematically review studies that examined the impact of public figure cancer announcements on cancer-oriented outcomes. Using co...
Article
Full-text available
On October 5, 2011, the Chief Executive Officer of Apple®, Inc., Steve Jobs, died from pancreatic cancer. Media outlets covered the event with fervor, and the public responded in kind. The purpose of this study was to examine public reaction to Jobs's death from pancreatic cancer in relation to general and health-specific information-seeking, as we...

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