Effects of Mass Media Exposure and Social Network Site Involvement on Risk Perception of and Precautionary Behavior Toward the Haze Issue in China

Xiaohua Wu, Xigen Li


This study examines the effects of mass media exposure and social network site (SNS) involvement on risk perception of and precautionary behavior toward the haze issue in China. It also tests the impersonal impact hypothesis and the differential impact hypothesis in the context of social media communication. SNS involvement is found to be a stronger predictor of risk perception than mass media exposure. Both mass media exposure and SNS involvement mediate the effect of direct experience on risk perception. The impersonal impact hypothesis, which assumes that media differentially affects social risk perception and personal risk perception, is not confirmed, while the differential impact hypothesis is supported. Personal risk perception mediates the effect of mass media exposure and SNS involvement on precautionary behavior. The findings clarify the inconsistency in the effect of interpersonal communication on perceived personal risk and suggest an interplay of the predictors of precautionary behavior.


mass media exposure, SNS involvement, risk perception, vulnerability, precautionary behavior

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