Morally Driven and Emotionally Fueled: The Interactive Effects of Values and Emotions in the Social Transmission of Information Endorsing E-cigarettes

Jiaxi Wu, Yunwen Wang, Yusi Aveva Xu, Jessica L. Fetterman, Traci Hong


Drawing upon the literature on moral foundations theory and the social transmission of information, our study investigated the effects of values and emotions on the sharing of pro-vaping messages on Twitter. Tweets (N = 9,542) containing top pro-vaping hashtags during the time of e-cigarette or vaping use–associated lung injury (EVALI) and the federal vape bans were analyzed. A lexicon-based machine classifier customized to vaping discourse and the NRC Word-Emotion Association Lexicon were used to produce the frequencies of moral and emotional words in the corpus. Mixed-effects hurdle negative binomial models were performed to predict the likelihood of a post receiving one and more retweets. Results showed that moral foundations, particularly Authority/subversion and Care/harm, and emotions of anger and sadness predicted the sharing of pro-vaping tweets. Interaction effects indicated that both emotions had a stronger effect on eliciting shares when a post contained lower levels of moral foundations. This study provides insights into the mechanism of how pro-vaping messages are amplified on Twitter, emphasizing the roles of moral values and emotions in enabling the process.



Keywords: vaping, electronic cigarettes, moral foundations, emotion, social media, information transmission, Twitter

Full Text: