Facoltà di scienze della comunicazione

Public opinion on the smoking ban : The impact of mass media, interpersonal communication and intrapersonal variables

Borrat-Besson, Carmen ; Schulz, Peter (Dir.)

Thèse de doctorat : Università della Svizzera italiana, 2010.

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    This dissertation examines individual opinion formation in the context of the smoking ban that was voted in Ticino in March 2006 using a complex model that includes selfinterest, political predispositions, media use, interpersonal discussion and perception of community support for the policy proposal. These variables were assumed to impact individual's belief systems (salience of the different arguments and beliefs about the smoking ban) which in turn would determine recipients' opinion on the smoking ban. Self-interest, political predisposition, media use, interpersonal discussion, perceived support and belief systems were measured in a longitudinal opinion survey. In parallel, a content analysis examined the coverage of the debate on the smoking ban. Hypotheses related to media impact were formulated on the basis of the results of the content analysis. The results from the structural equation modeling (SEM) analyses revealed that self-interest, interpersonal discussion and perceived support were important predictors. Their impact on general opinion about the smoking ban was principally mediated by beliefs about the smoking ban. In contrast, media exposure did not significantly impact opinion formation. Several explanations for the lack of media effect are discussed in the conclusion.