Cox Center Researchers Present Findings Of Three Studies at Meeting in Chicago

Researchers from the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia presented findings of studies of the media career interests of high school students, of consumer responses to direct-to-consumer drug advertising and of the attitudes of entry-level communication professions to unions at the annual meeting of the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research in Chicago in November.

George Daniels, a research assistant in the Center, told those gathered for a special session on polling of young people that high school students who work with the campus media gain a sense of their abilities to function in media careers. This sense of competence is important in understanding the ultimate decision to pursue media careers, Daniels said.

Jisu Huh, also a research assistant in the Center, said that those who see advertisements in the media for prescription drugs are more likely to seek additional information about those drugs and more likely to go to their doctors with questions about the drugs than are those not exposed the advertisements. The findings come from reanalysis of data from a national survey conducted by the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Cox Center Director Dr. Lee B. Becker co-authored the paper with Ms. Huh. Dr. Hugh Martin, a faculty member at the University of Georgia, told the conference attendees that most graduates of journalism and mass communication programs leave the university without fully developed views of unions. The graduates will base their views of unions on both the experiences they have on the job and the experiences they had before they took those initial jobs, Dr. Martin said.

"Pay, the level of benefits, and job satisfaction are all negatively related to support for unions," according to the paper. The better paid graduates, those with more benefits, and those more happy with their jobs are less likely to be supportive of unions than their counterparts.

Dr. Martin is a faculty member in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. The Cox Center is a unit of the Grady College.

Cox Center Assistant Director Dr. Tudor Vlad and Director Becker were co-authors of the paper on attitudes towards unions.

Approximately 100 public opinion researchers attended the two-day meeting in Chicago. While most were from the midwest, researchers also came from the state of Washington, from New York, and elsewhere in the country. MAPOR is a chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

This prescription drug study by Ms. Huh and Dr. Becker also looked at who pays attention to direct-to-consumer drug advertisements in the media. Healthier people and current drug users were more likely to see and hear a large number of these advertisements than others. Among demographic variables, education was the strongest predictor of advertisement exposure.

The research by Daniels on high school students showed that the students studied were somewhat confident about ability to perform media tasks and fairly positive about the outcomes of media career. Daniels said that his data show that African-Americans students were less likely to select print and more likely to select media production careers than other students. Click here to download a copy of the paper, "Direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising: Understanding its consequences," by Jisu Huh and Lee B. Becker.