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Media as Educator, Media as Disruptor: Conceptualizing the Role of Social Context in Media Effects

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We document how social contexts serve to refract media effects. We theorized the relationship between media use and individual‐level knowledge (and attitude) would be stronger when community‐level knowledge (and attitude) was low than when it was high. Data come from a national survey (N = 12,608 women and 1,237 men) conducted in Nepal. Knowledge and stigma toward people living with HIV were the 2 dependent variables. Hypotheses were tested 12 times: across the use of 3 media (newspaper, radio, television) × 2 study outcomes (knowledge and attitudes) × 2 genders. Predicted interactions were supported in 9 of the 12 tests. Findings point to the need to take into account the role of community factors in theorizing about media effects.
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Keywords: Community Norms; Knowledge; Media Effects; Nepal; Social Context; Stigma

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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