Date of Award

5-11-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Sheryl Strasser, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Bethany Stevens, J.D.

Abstract

The Internet has continued to reach new audience members and is an integral part of United States society. Social Cognitive Theory addresses the impact of the environment on health behavior, providing justification for surveillance of the digital environment in health behavior research. Health information headlines from two highly trafficked news sites were analyzed using content analysis. Search terms used were health, Blacks, African American, ethnicity and 2011. The headlines were coded by independent graduate level individuals and assessed for nine indices of interest.

There were 209 headlines analyzed for the study. Headlines contained health information that correlated with social predictors and indicators for moral exclusion and social injustice. This study indicates that racial assumptions continue to be evident in the reporting of news and the conveyance of health information, assumptions that shape attitudes for research, policy and practice.

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