Date of Award

Spring 1996

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Soley, Lawrence

Second Advisor

Turner, Lynn H.

Abstract

African-American teenagers from two Milwaukee high schools participated in an experiment in which their nonnative influences and attitudes toward finishing high school were gauged at two time periods. The subjects were given different versions of a pro-school magazine article to determine if race and age of the source predicted acceptance of the article as a credible source of advice regarding school and if the article would influence the teenagers' decisions regarding the completion of high school. The theories of uses and gratification and reasoned action guided this research. The results did not substantiate the theory of uses and gratification; the teenagers did not view the magazine article as a source of behavioral guidance and personal identity. The results provided partial support for the theory of reasoned action; attitudes toward finishing high school were more of a predictor of behavioral intention regarding school than normative influences. Race of the source predicted the article's acceptance more than age of the source; the teenagers viewed the article written by a black author more favorably than the article written by a white author. The subjects' stated intention toward finishing high school increased after reading the black -oriented article but not the white-oriented article.

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