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Genre-Specific Media and Perceptions of Personal and Social Risk of Smoking Among South Korean College Students

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The smoking rate among adult men in South Korea is one of the highest in the world, standing at about 53%. Although various mass media-based educational initiatives have been taken to reduce this rate, their contribution toward the smoking risk perceptions of South Koreans has not been investigated. This study examined the association between genre-specific media exposure and personal and social risk perceptions of smokers and nonsmokers. Data from a survey of 558 South Korean college students (39% smokers) show that genre-specific media exposure differentially predicts personal and social risk perceptions of smokers and nonsmokers. News media exposure predicted smokers' personal risk perceptions, whereas entertainment media exposure predicted nonsmokers' personal risk perceptions. Exposure to a hybrid genre, health infotainment, predicted social risk perceptions, but not personal risk perceptions, of both smokers and nonsmokers. High rates of exposure to medical documentary were associated with low personal risk perceptions of nonsmokers, but not smokers. These results collectively suggest that mixed-media strategies may effectively address perceptions of personal and social risk of smoking. Suggestions for future research, and theoretical and practical implications, are offered.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, USA 2: Department of Communication, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA 3: Department of Mass Communication, Youngsan University, Yangsan, Republic of Korea

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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