Wang, Yinhan; 2011, ‘Media Literacy Dossier: research review 1(Primack et al 2009),
LSE Media Policy Project
, April 28.Full reference details of reviewed article:
Primack, B. A., Sidani, J., Carroll, M. V., & Fine, M. J. (2009). Associations betweensmoking and media literacy in college students'.
Journal of Health Communication, 14
Conceptions/definition of media literacy (or related concept) used
The working definition of media literacy used by public health advocates is‘the ability to understand, analyze, evaluate, and create media messages in awide variety of forms’ (Aufderheide & Firesone, 1993). The authors alsooutlined three theoretical domains of media literacy: 1) Authors andaudiences, 2) Messages and meanings, and 3) Representation and reality.The ‘Theory of Reasoned Action’ (TRA) is also particularly relevant in usingmedia literacy to prevent behaviors that cause harm to health. TRA arguesthat ‘an individual’s behavior (such as smoking) is determined by his or herintention to perform the behavior, which is in turn predicted by his or herattitude toward the behavior and sense of normative beliefs regarding it’ (p.542).
Research method/scope of empirical work
The study seeks to observe: 1) ‘whether smoking media literacy isindependently associated with current smoking in college students, controllingfor a comprehensive set of sociodemographic variables known to influencetobacco use’ (p. 545), 2) whether a particular core principle of media literacyhas the strongest association with current smoking behaviors, and 3) whetherthere is internal consistency in the media literacy scale.A random sample of 657 students from a U.S. university completed thesurvey. The survey consists of questions about demographics, smokingbehavior and beliefs, and also media literacy (6 items asked on a Likertscale).
Students with higher media literacy are les likely to be current smokers.
Whether students are current smokers is independently associatedwith their media literacy (except on the question whether camera shotis carefully planned when smoking is shown in TV or movies).
There was internal consistency in the smoking media literacy scale.
Key implications for research and policymaking
Media literacy interventions in may be useful in preventing harmfulhealth behaviors such as smoking.