Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

ISSN: 2165-7912

Open Access

Receptivity to 2010 Census Messages Among the General Public and Hard-to-enumerate Populations


W. Douglas Evans, Ting Yan and A. Rupa Datta

Message receptivity is a construct that represents rational and affective reactions to messages and has been used to predict changes in attitudes toward public service advertising. Health communication studies show that receptivity can act as a mediator of behavior change. This study extends the receptivity construct to prediction of Census participation. The 2010 Census Integrated Communication Campaign Evaluation measured receptivity to the 2010 Integrated Communication Campaign, an advertising campaign designed to promote Census participation. This study aimed to identify differences in receptivity to Census messages between advertisements and targeted populations and opportunities to improve messages in future. Measured items loaded onto a single receptivity factor. We regressed Census cognitions and behaviors on the receptivity factor in the general population and examined differences between hard-to-enumerate subpopulations targeted by the campaign. Higher receptivity was associated with more positive cognitions about the 2010 ICC. Higher receptivity was also associated with more positive attitudes and beliefs about the Census. Receptivity was associated with higher Census participation among some hard-to-enumerate populations and is an important construct for future media campaigns.


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