Murray State Theses and Dissertations


Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes are the current leading causes of death in the United States, where most of these diseases are caused by a few specific risk behaviors including tobacco use, poor nutrition, and lack of physical activity (Rutledge, Lane, Merlo, & Elmi, 2018). Healthcare professional are being encouraged to educate patients and the community about the risks associated with health behaviors and lifestyle choices. I explore aspect of these health messages in the context of gain- vs loss-framed messages presented through two social networking sites, Twitter and Instagram, on subsequent health behavior changes. Whereas existing literature have explored the influence of message framing and health behaviors in print, audio, and visual medias, few studies have examined these effects through the use of social networking sites. The purpose of this study was to examine whether gain- vs loss-framed messages presented through social networking sites differ on subsequent physical activity levels. I hypothesized gain-framed messages would be more effective in the adoption of physical exercise among college-aged students versus the loss-framed messages. Undergraduate students at a southern based university completed a questionnaire assessing physical activity levels and social networking site (SNS) use. Participants were randomly assigned to one of six conditions and asked to “follow” their designated social networking account. For a period of two-weeks, experimenters live posted a specified stimulus demonstrating a gain- or loss-framed message. Participants completed a follow-up questionnaire assessing physical activity and a post-experiment manipulation check.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

Framed Messages, Health Behavior, Social Networking Sites

Thesis Advisor

Sean C Rife

Committee Chair

Laura Liljequist

Committee Member

Jana Hackathorn

Committee Member

Jessica Naber

Document Type