Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Texting and driving : how the media shapes attitudes, behaviors, and information-seeking strategies Public Deposited

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  • According to the Center for Disease Control, 7-in-10 people use their smartphones while driving. This includes behaviors such as sending or reading text messages or emails, taking photos, or using social media. Despite its prevalence amongst drivers, using one’s phone while driving is considered one of the worst types of distracted driving since it is a visual, manual and cognitive disruption. This has resulted in a behavior where 9 Americans lose their lives each day. In a response to this issue, the cell phone company, AT&T, began a media campaign to curb texting while driving behaviors. The following thesis examines one of the AT&T commercials and its efficacy on decreasing texting while driving. To accomplish this, a study was developed to test individual’s attitudes, behaviors, and information-seeking strategies in regards to the behavior of texting while driving. Azjen’s (1985) Theory of Planned Behavior was used to measure attitudinal and behavioral outcomes regarding texting while driving. In addition, Afifi and Weiner’s (2004) Theory of Motivated Information Management measured information-seeking behavior for texting while driving. The results of this study found that both theories were a good model fit for understanding the subject of texting while driving. Despite this, there were no significant results that indicated that the commercial had an effect on the participants. The thesis argues that the AT&T commercial would have had an impact on the viewers, however this was not the case. Results indicate that predicting behavior is possible through the theories, but there is no direct effect from the commercial on those behaviors. The end of this study will conclude with a discussion of why these findings occurred.
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