Date of Award

Fall 2006

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Griffin, Robert

Second Advisor

Wolburg, Joyce

Third Advisor

Scotton, James


This study applied an audience-based approach using the risk information seeking and processing (RISP) model to overcome the problems of previous sender-oriented and atheoretical research regarding risk and crisis communication for new emerging health risks with potential pandemic character such as SARS and Avian Influenza. The research was conducted to determine: (1) individuals' risk motivations to seek and process information, and (2) their Avian Flu information seeking and processing behavior. The model of risk information seeking and processing (Griffin, Dunwoody, & Neuwirth, 1999) provided the theoretical framework for this study. This theoretical framework may help researchers understand the motivational factors influencing individuals seeking and processing of Avian Flu risk information.