Young Black Men’s Information Seeking following Celebrity Depression Disclosure: Implications for Mental Health Communication

Diane B. Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Celebrity health disclosures motivate people to seek information about various health topics. However, limited systematic evaluations exist on effects of celebrity disclosures of mental illness, despite observations that this is a growing phenomenon and have important implications for public health education. Further, research has rarely examined the impact of such disclosures on minority populations. This study sought to understand factors associated with young Black men’s information seeking following exposure to a depression disclosure by Scott Mescudi. Mescudi is a well-known Black male hip-hop artist who shared his depression diagnosis and subsequent treatment plans with his fans in October 2016. For this study, I surveyed 182 Black males aged 18–34, 1 month after the disclosure. Fifty percent sought general information about depression, and 16% sought information to ascertain whether they themselves were at risk for depression. Feeling emotional distress following the disclosure and having current depression symptoms were significantly associated with information seeking behaviors. Identification was indirectly related to information seeking through emotional distress. Thus, emotional distress appears to play an important role in information seeking behaviors following celebrity health disclosures. The findings suggest celebrity health disclosures are associated with proactive health behaviors among this sample. Implications of the results for theorization of celebrity health effects and research on mental health communication with young Black men are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-694
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Volume23
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences

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