Topical Collection "Mass Communication, Digital Media, and Public Health"

Editors

Dr. Luis Miguel Romero-Rodríguez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Communication and Sociology, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain
Interests: mass communication; digital media; media education; social media; journalism; disinformation; advertising
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Clara Muela-Molina
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Rey Juan Carlos University, Fuenlabrada, madrid, Spain
Interests: advertising; health communication; misleading advertising; creativity
Dr. Luisa Agante
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
Interests: consumer behaviour; children; eating habits; food advertising
Prof. Dr. Daniel Catalan-Matamoros
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Communication Studies, University Carlos III of Madrid, 28903 Madrid, Spain
Interests: health communication; risk communication; public health; risk perception; healthcare technology assessment
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on Mass Communication, Digital Media, and Public Health in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph.
The media and social networks are shapers of public opinion and citizen behavior. In this sense, their study becomes of vital importance for the establishment of public policies on health information under the needs of the current digital ecosystem and understanding its complexities, audiences, and phenomena. Aspects such as the weaknesses in media self-regulation, censorship systems, self-censorship, misleading advertising, misinformation, and fake news began at the height of COVID-19 and were pointed out as urgent matters by various international organizations such as the European Commission (EC) or the World Health Organization (WHO) while states were looking for the most suitable formulas to avoid information vices, especially in such sensitive areas as public health information.
Researchers in the field of health communication have conducted studies to prevent a more significant impact of misinformation ranging from the promotion of media and health literacy for citizens to the establishment of fact-checking systems. However, aspects such as misleading advertising, health apomediation promoted by social networks, and the phenomenon of ‘influencers’ in this field are adapting their dynamics and content mechanics at a much faster pace than communication research.
This Special Issue is open to the subject area of Mass Communication, Digital Media, and Public Health. The keywords listed below provide an outline of some of the possible areas of interest.

Dr. Luis Miguel Romero-Rodríguez
Dr. Clara Muela-Molina
Dr. Luisa Agante
Prof. Daniel Catalan-Matamoros
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • health communication
  • misleading advertising
  • health information
  • digital media
  • health claims
  • health apomediation
  • health literacy
  • media literacy
  • fake news and health
  • health information public policies
  • media self-regulation and health
  • nutritional information
  • nutritional branding and packaging
  • corporate social responsibility of healthcare companies
  • public health campaigns
  • alcohol and tobacco advertising
  • sports betting advertising
  • health-related claims regulation
  • influencers and native advertising

Published Papers (14 papers)

2021

Jump to: 2020

Open AccessArticle
Children, Media and Food. A New Paradigm in Food Advertising, Social Marketing and Happiness Management
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3588; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073588 - 30 Mar 2021
Viewed by 467
Abstract
The growing number of children who are obese or overweight in certain countries or geographical areas is a fact, as evidenced by the continuous studies and reports on the subject, endorsed or carried out by the World Health Organisation and independent research. In [...] Read more.
The growing number of children who are obese or overweight in certain countries or geographical areas is a fact, as evidenced by the continuous studies and reports on the subject, endorsed or carried out by the World Health Organisation and independent research. In this context, food and beverage advertising can contribute to this. The main objective of this research is to evaluate compliance with the Food and Drink Advertising Code for Children (PAOS Code) in Spain and its relationship with nutritional habits on television, specifically on channels aimed at children. The methodology is therefore mixed: on the one hand, a qualitative technique based on discourse analysis and, on the other, a quantitative technique based on the content analysis of the advertising broadcast for seven consecutive days on three specialised channels and two generalist channels on Spanish television. The results reveal a systematic noncompliance with this code, which translates into inadequate eating habits among children. The immediate conclusion is that 9 out of 10 parts of food and drink advertising do not comply with any of the rules of the PAOS Code and that self-regulation by the advertising companies is negligible and insufficient. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Realfooders Influencers on Instagram: From Followers to Consumers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1624; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041624 - 08 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1100
Abstract
(1) Background: Realfooders have positioned themselves in social networks such as Instagram by posting photographs of recipes, advises, habits and nutritional behaviours which are advertised as reliable nutritional patterns and by their self-promotion as highly trained people in the field of nutrition which [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Realfooders have positioned themselves in social networks such as Instagram by posting photographs of recipes, advises, habits and nutritional behaviours which are advertised as reliable nutritional patterns and by their self-promotion as highly trained people in the field of nutrition which sometimes jeopardises the health of digital citizenry. (2) Methods: In this article, we develop a quantitative study for analysing the influence of selected Realfooders on 2,866,980 followers on Instagram, taking into account channel variables (gender, location, interests and motivations), followers’ variables (engagement, interaction and consumption) and some variables related to the message of 54 posts about breakfast. (3) Results: Selected Realfooders concentrate their followers in Spain, mostly women between 18 and 24 and between 35 and 44 years old who link their interests on food to the cult of the body and recreational areas. On the other hand, the content generated by Realfooders has been increasing its impact using advertising and marketing techniques for awaking consumer’s interest. (4) Conclusions: Educational and social agents are facing the challenge of low health literacy in young population. Therefore, it is necessary to design and implement strategies for developing critical thinking that allow them to assess the content generated by Realfooders and identify which recommendations can be harmful or beneficial to their health. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Health Advertising during the Lockdown: A Comparative Analysis of Commercial TV in Spain
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1054; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031054 - 25 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 942
Abstract
During the lockdown declared in Spain to fight the spread of COVID-19 from 14 March to 3 May 2020, a context in which health information has gained relevance, the agenda-setting theory was used to study the proportion of health advertisements broadcasted during this [...] Read more.
During the lockdown declared in Spain to fight the spread of COVID-19 from 14 March to 3 May 2020, a context in which health information has gained relevance, the agenda-setting theory was used to study the proportion of health advertisements broadcasted during this period on Spanish television. Previous and posterior phases were compared, and the period was compared with the same period in 2019. A total of 191,738 advertisements were downloaded using the Instar Analytics application and analyzed using inferential statistics to observe the presence of health advertisements during the four study periods. It was observed that during the lockdown, there were more health advertisements than after, as well as during the same period in 2019, although health advertisements had the strongest presence during the pre-lockdown phase. The presence of most types of health advertisements also changed during the four phases of the study. We conclude that, although many differences can be explained by the time of the year—due to the presence of allergies or colds, for instance—the lockdown and the pandemic affected health advertising. However, the effects were mostly visible after the lockdown, when advertisers and broadcasters had had time to adapt to the unexpected circumstances. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2021

Open AccessArticle
Benefit-Seeking or Risk-Taking? Examining the Portrayal of Cosmetic Surgery in Chinese News, 2000–2019
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010048 - 23 Dec 2020
Viewed by 623
Abstract
Analyzing 311 news articles published in representative Chinese newspapers, this study investigated how cosmetic surgery (CS) was represented in Chinese media from 2000 to 2019. Employing a coding scheme based on prior literature and sampled data, the study analyzed both features of the [...] Read more.
Analyzing 311 news articles published in representative Chinese newspapers, this study investigated how cosmetic surgery (CS) was represented in Chinese media from 2000 to 2019. Employing a coding scheme based on prior literature and sampled data, the study analyzed both features of the articles and profiles of the patients in the media. Results showed significant differences in media reporting across issue categories, reporting frames (benefit-focused, risk-focused, neutral), sources of information, drivers for and impacts of having surgeries. Among all the reasons for obtaining CS, boosting career confidence was ranked at the top. Additionally, significant differences in reporting were observed across types of the newspapers, gender of the patients, and time periods of the coverage. Implications of the findings for health promotion and regulation were discussed in reference to the social, cultural, and media context in China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Tracking Websites’ Digital Communication Strategies in Latin American Hospitals During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 9145; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239145 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 782
Abstract
Since the advent of the Internet, websites have become the nerve center of the digital ecosystems of media, companies and all kinds of institutions. Currently, the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic has placed healthcare issues at the center of social debate, including [...] Read more.
Since the advent of the Internet, websites have become the nerve center of the digital ecosystems of media, companies and all kinds of institutions. Currently, the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic has placed healthcare issues at the center of social debate, including hospitals and their websites as digital sources of trustworthy information. COVID-19 has intensified the need for quality information and the legitimacy of sources fighting the infodemic situation. In this regard hospitals become essential social actors in the spread of healthcare information. Within this framework, a qualitative study is presented with descriptive components and based on content analysis. This study examines 58 websites from the best hospitals included in the “América Economía” ranking health sector from Latin America. The study applies an analysis methodology based on previous research focusing on specialized web studies, defining an analysis model on six variables and 65 thematic indicators. The research concludes that hospitals occupying first positions in the medical services directory are not necessarily those that have the best websites. Similarly, it is worth noting that a quarter of the studied sample do not devote a specific space to reporting coronavirus information. Brazil, Colombia and Chile are the countries with the highest number of hospitals among those with the best websites. In conclusion, digital media, specifically websites, could constitute legitime resources of healthcare information consumption, so their accuracy and proper development seem to be significant to become genuine sources that not only could provide better healthcare services but help avoid the spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Salaried Workers’ Self-Perceived Health and Psychosocial Risk in Guayaquil, Ecuador
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 9099; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239099 - 06 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 661
Abstract
Self-perceived health is an important indicator of occupational health. This research explored the relationship between poor self-perceived health and exposure to psychosocial risk factors, taking into account potential socio-demographic, occupational, and employment determinants. Using data from the First Survey of Occupational Safety and [...] Read more.
Self-perceived health is an important indicator of occupational health. This research explored the relationship between poor self-perceived health and exposure to psychosocial risk factors, taking into account potential socio-demographic, occupational, and employment determinants. Using data from the First Survey of Occupational Safety and Health Conditions, covering 1049 salaried workers in Guayaquil, Ecuador, descriptive and stratified binary logistic regression analyses (odds ratios with corresponding 95% confidence intervals) were carried out. A significant relationship was found between exposure to psychosocial risk factors and the probability of presenting poor self-perceived health by socio-demographic, occupational, and employment characteristics. Occupational exposure factors to psychosocial risks were predictors of self-perceived ill health and were related to the variables analyzed; the most frequently expressed factors among the respondents were cognitive demands (DCOG) and job insecurity (IL). The results have implications in terms of designing effective workplace interventions pursuant to ensuring the health and well-being of employees. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Alcohol and Betting Radio Advertising in Spain. A Comparative Analysis of the Minor’s Protection Time Slot from a Media Responsibility Perspective
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8873; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17238873 - 29 Nov 2020
Viewed by 659
Abstract
This research analyzes the presence of advertising and radio mentions of alcoholic beverages and sports betting, two products that represent harmful behaviors for the audiences’ health. To do this, a quantitative content analysis was undertaken for all of the programming of the three [...] Read more.
This research analyzes the presence of advertising and radio mentions of alcoholic beverages and sports betting, two products that represent harmful behaviors for the audiences’ health. To do this, a quantitative content analysis was undertaken for all of the programming of the three most listened radio stations in Spain (Cadena Ser, COPE, and Onda Cero) throughout 2017, obtaining a total corpus of 2848 radio messages distributed as follows: 266 radio spots and 2582 radio mentions. The messages were also analyzed according to the broadcasting schedules (protected time-slot or non-protected time-slot). The results showed that advertising and sports betting mentions were more present in the regular programming of the three stations (n = 2304), with mentions (n = 2582) being more numerous than advertising spots (n = 544). Moreover, it is evident that in practice, none of the radio stations respected the protected time slots since the majority of the mentions and spots of high alcoholic beverages and sports bets were verified between 6:00–21:59 (n = 2522). These results show the prevailing need for greater control over this type of content by public entities, demonstrating a significant lack of regulation by the media’s self-control mechanisms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Multiple Exposures and Ad-Skipping Behavior on Recall of Health Messages on YouTubeTM
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8427; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228427 - 14 Nov 2020
Viewed by 512
Abstract
Although measuring exposure to public health messages is key to understanding campaign effectiveness, little is known about how exposure to and avoidance of digital ad messages may influence self-reported ad recall. A sample of 15–24-year-olds (n = 297) received a varying number [...] Read more.
Although measuring exposure to public health messages is key to understanding campaign effectiveness, little is known about how exposure to and avoidance of digital ad messages may influence self-reported ad recall. A sample of 15–24-year-olds (n = 297) received a varying number of forced-view and skippable test ads across multiple simulated YouTubeTM sessions. Each session was coded for whether the participant viewed the ad or skipped it. While a majority of participants recalled the test ad, the odds of ad recall did not vary by number of sessions (opportunities for exposure). Rather, ad recall was sensitive to the number of completed ad views such that odds of ad recall doubled for each additional time the ad was completely viewed. Findings suggest that public health digital message exposure and recall can be optimized with sufficient attention paid to the proportions of forced-view ads aired when aiming to reach younger audiences. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Vaccine Hesitancy in the Age of Coronavirus and Fake News: Analysis of Journalistic Sources in the Spanish Quality Press
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8136; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218136 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1252
Abstract
The study of the quality press and the use of sources is relevant to understand the role of journalists in scientific controversies. The objective was to examine media sourcing patterns, using the case of vaccines as a backdrop. Articles were retrieved from the [...] Read more.
The study of the quality press and the use of sources is relevant to understand the role of journalists in scientific controversies. The objective was to examine media sourcing patterns, using the case of vaccines as a backdrop. Articles were retrieved from the national quality press in Spain. Content analysis was undertaken on the sources and on other variables such as tone, frames and journalistic genre. The software myNews and NVivo were used for data collection and coding, while SPSS and Excel were used for statistical analysis. Findings indicate that sources related to the government, professional associations and scientific companies are the most frequently used, confirming the central role of government institutions as journalistic sources. These were followed by university scientists, scientific journals and clinicians. On the other hand, NGOs and patients groups were included in fewer than 5% of the articles. More than 30% included none or just one source expressing unbalanced perspectives. Frequent use of certain source types, particularly governmental, may indicate state structures of power. The study provides a better understanding of journalistic routines in the coverage of vaccines, including fresh perspectives in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Perception of Advertisements for Healthy Food on Social Media: Effect of Attitude on Consumers’ Response
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6463; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186463 - 04 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1302
Abstract
The growing concern for health is currently a global trend, so promoting healthy products is an opportunity that companies can exploit to differentiate their products in highly competitive markets. The purpose of this research is to examine the antecedents of social media advertising [...] Read more.
The growing concern for health is currently a global trend, so promoting healthy products is an opportunity that companies can exploit to differentiate their products in highly competitive markets. The purpose of this research is to examine the antecedents of social media advertising value and their consequences for attitudes to healthy food and intentions to consume it, in a representative sample of Spanish consumers. The theory of Ducoffe’s advertising value model was used as a conceptual framework for the antecedents of attitudes based on utilitarian and hedonic values. To achieve this objective, a descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out based on primary data from a survey of a representative sample of the Spanish population with 2023 valid questionnaires. The Partial Least Square (PLS) method was applied to test the hypothesized relationships and predictive variables. The result of this research allows us to determine which variables influence the consumer’s response, as measured by intention, motivated by the consumer’s attitude to the value of healthy food, as influenced by the advertising value on social networks. Furthermore, the findings show that, for advertising healthy food on social networks to be valuable, it must be credible and richly informative. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Information on the COVID-19 Pandemic in Daily Newspapers’ Front Pages: Case Study of Spain and Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6330; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176330 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1516
Abstract
Spain and Italy are amongst the European countries where the COVID-19 pandemic has produced its major impact and where lockdown measures have been the harshest. This research aims at understanding how the corona crisis has been represented in Spanish and Italian media, focusing [...] Read more.
Spain and Italy are amongst the European countries where the COVID-19 pandemic has produced its major impact and where lockdown measures have been the harshest. This research aims at understanding how the corona crisis has been represented in Spanish and Italian media, focusing on reference newspapers. The study analyzes 72 front pages of El País and El Mundo in Spain and Italy’s Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica, collecting 710 news items and 3456 data evidences employing a mixed method (both qualitative and quantitative) based on content analysis and hemerographic analysis. Results show a predominance of informative journalistic genres (especially brief and news), while the visual framing emerging from the photographic choice, tend to foster humanization through an emotional representation of the pandemic. Politicians are the most represented actors, showing a high degree of politicization of the crisis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Relationship between Cognitive Reserve and Cognitive Impairment in Autonomous and Institutionalized Older Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5777; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165777 - 10 Aug 2020
Viewed by 644
Abstract
It is necessary to determine which variables help prevent the presence of decline or deterioration during the aging process as a function of advancing age. This research analyses the relations between cognitive reserve (CR) and cognitive impairment in 300 individuals. It also aims [...] Read more.
It is necessary to determine which variables help prevent the presence of decline or deterioration during the aging process as a function of advancing age. This research analyses the relations between cognitive reserve (CR) and cognitive impairment in 300 individuals. It also aims to confirm the influence of different variables (gender, age, level of studies and institutionalization) in CR and in deterioration in a population of older adults. The results indicate that people with higher CR present less deterioration. Regarding the role of the sociodemographic variables in the level of deterioration and CR, there are no differences between men and women, but there are differences in the variables age, level of studies and institutionalization, in such a way that the older age the greater the cognitive deterioration, the higher the level of studies, the more RC and less deterioration and it was found that the non-institutionalized people present less deterioration and greater CR. It is affirmed that two people with similar clinical characteristics may present different levels of pathology, being the CR the explanation of this fact. The results obtained allow us to affirm that the measurement of CR is considered an essential variable for the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Social Networks’ Engagement During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Spain: Health Media vs. Healthcare Professionals
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 5261; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17145261 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2759
Abstract
An increased use of social networks is one of the most far-reaching consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from the traditional media, as the main drivers of social communication in crisis situations, individual profiles have emerged supported by social networks, which have had [...] Read more.
An increased use of social networks is one of the most far-reaching consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from the traditional media, as the main drivers of social communication in crisis situations, individual profiles have emerged supported by social networks, which have had a similar impact to the more specialized communication media. This is the hypothesis of the research presented, which is focused on health communication and based on a virtual ethnography methodology with the use of social metrics. The aim is to understand the relationship established between the population in general and digital media in particular through the measurement of engagement. In this regard, a comparative study was carried out that describes this phenomenon over a period of six months on three social networks: YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, with a sample composed of specialized health media versus healthcare professionals. The results point to a new communications model that opens up a new space for agents whose content has a degree of engagement comparable to and even exceeding that of digital media specialized in health communication. The conclusions show that the crisis of the pandemic has accelerated the transformation of the communication sector, creating new challenges for the communication industry, media professionals, and higher education institutions related to market demands. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Food and Beverage Advertising Aimed at Spanish Children Issued through Mobile Devices: A Study from a Social Marketing and Happiness Management Perspective
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 5056; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17145056 - 14 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 966
Abstract
Eating Disorders (ED) and obesity are a pandemic in developed and developing societies. In 2018, Spanish Ministry of Health and Consumption reported data on obesity (15%) and ED (12%). Spain thus ranks fifth among European countries in childhood obesity, with the highest incidence [...] Read more.
Eating Disorders (ED) and obesity are a pandemic in developed and developing societies. In 2018, Spanish Ministry of Health and Consumption reported data on obesity (15%) and ED (12%). Spain thus ranks fifth among European countries in childhood obesity, with the highest incidence in the 6–12-year-age group. Many studies point to media as one of the contributing elements to this growth. In this sense, it should be noted that Spanish children are exposed to an average of 9000 television commercials per year and the vast majority of these are for food and beverage products of little or no nutritional value. Educommunication becomes essential here, since media have the capacity to educate, prevent and influence the behaviour as part of their social marketing strategies and within the happiness management philosophy. The aim of this paper is to analyse food and beverage advertising on mobile devices aimed at children. The methodology used includes a content analysis, a survey, and focus groups. The results show that many of the food products are bought or ordered as a direct result of advertising. The main conclusions point to the need to regulate the messages transmitted in order to guide the social function of media so that public health and happiness can be improved. Full article
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