Fatalism and exposure to health information from the media: examining the evidence for causal influence


Fatalistic attitudes have a negative impact on a broad variety of health behaviors and behavioral determinants of health. A growing body of research has documented an association between media exposure and fatalism; however, scholarship has not been able to ascertain the causal direction. This review synthesizes the current state of the literature. A major finding is that most studies purporting to assess the relationship between media exposure and fatalism use conflated measures of fatalism. Among those that use an appropriate measure, there is some evidence that increased exposure to media increases fatalism. Although there is a substantive theoretical rationale for such effects, more research is needed to make a definitive claim and to explain the mechanism for such effects.

Annals of the International Communication Association, 41(3-4), 298-320