1 THE EFFECTS OF CATECHESIS AS INOCULATION AGAINST NEGATIVE MEDIA REPORTS ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH B y ANTHONY ESEKE A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE R EQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATIONS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 Anthony Eseke
3 To the Late Most Rev. Ephraim Silas Obot for inspiring my academic career
4 ACKNOWLEDGEMNTS I thank Dr. Michael Leslie, the Chair of my supervisory committee, and the other members, Drs. Ronald Rodgers and David Hackett, for their advice and painstaking corrections to my thesis. I am grateful to the faculty and staff of the University of Florida Co llege of Journalism and Communications for all the support I received toward this thesis. I appreciate the diocese of St. Augustine for their approval of this project in the various parishes of the diocese; and I am very thankful to all the participants fo r their commitment to the project. The priests and parishioners of St. Augustine Church, Gainesville have been an immense support to me in my studies and I am thankful. I appreciate the research assistance I received from Thomas Myers, Nancy Parrish, and A and my siblings for all their prayers and emotional support in my studies.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGEMNTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 8 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 9 LIST OF TERMS ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 10 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 15 Religion Media Reports ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 15 Research Problem ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 16 The Catholic Church and the Media ................................ ................................ ....................... 16 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 18 Significance of Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 19 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 22 Theoretical Framework ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 22 Audience Reception Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 22 Cognitive Dissonance and Selective Exposure ................................ ................................ ....... 23 Inocu lation Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 27 Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) ................................ ................................ .................... 30 Research Questions and Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ...................... 31 Demographic Variables and Attitudes ................................ ................................ ............. 34 Central Elaboration ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 35 Homogeneity of Effects ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 35 Catechesis and Attitudes ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 36 3 METHOD ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 39 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 39 Experimental Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 46 Experimental Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 46 Measuring Instruments ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 48 Experimental Stimulus ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 49 Manipulation Check ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 51 Operationalization of varia bles ................................ ................................ ............................... 51 Statistical techniques ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 58 Missing Data ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 58
6 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 60 RQ1: Does Negative Reporting like The Silence Affect the Short term Attitude of Catholics toward the Church? ................................ ................................ ............................. 60 RQ2: Does Exposur e to The Silence Affect the Overall Attitude of Catholics toward the Church? ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 60 Short term Attitude Shifts toward the Church and Overall Attitudes toward the Church? ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 61 RQ4: Does Negative Media Information about the Church Swerve the Valence of the Church among Catholics? ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 61 RQ5: Does Regularity of Practice of Catholic Faith Moderate the Effects of Exposure to Negative Information on the Church? ................................ ................................ ................. 62 RQ6: What Demographic Va riables Moderate the Attitudes of Catholics Exposed to Negative Media Information about the Church? ................................ ................................ 63 H1: Based on the Elaboration Likelihood Model, Catholics, upon Exposure to Negative Infor mation like The Silence will Centrally Elaborate their Immediate Attitudes toward the Church ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 66 H2: Negative Media Reports will have Similar Effects on Catholics across Parish Communities ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 67 H3: The Level of Catechesis of Catholics, upon Exposure to Negative Media Information on the Church Determines their Routes of Information Processing. .............. 70 H4: Catholics who have been in the Church Long Enough (Sponsors), when Exposed to Negative Media about the Church, have a More Positive Valence towards the Church after Negative Media Exposure than Newer Catholics (Catechumens) ............... 70 H5: There is a Relationship between the Level of Catechesis (Catechumen or Sponsor) of Catholics and their Overall Attitude toward the Church. ................................ ............... 71 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 71 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ .................... 72 Example of Information Management of an Unexpected Event ................................ ............ 73 Study Limitations and Future Research ................................ ................................ .................. 79 APPENDIX A RESEARCH QUESTIONNAIRES USED IN THE EXPERIMENT ................................ .... 80 B APPROVAL OF UFIRB # 2011 U 1022 ................................ ................................ ............... 87 C INFORMED CONSENT ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 88 D APPROVAL OF THE DIOCESE OF ST. A UGUSTINE ................................ ...................... 90 E CODEBOOK FOR UNITS OF THOUGHT ................................ ................................ .......... 91 F DISTRIBUTION TABLE OF VARIABLES ................................ ................................ ......... 92
7 G SKEWNESS AND KURTOSIS OF THE DATA DISTRIBUTION ................................ ..... 93 H MEAN OF ATTITUDES BY AGE GROUPS ................................ ................................ ....... 94 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 95 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 105
8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 1 ................................ .................... 17 3 1 Inter coder reliability ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 54 3 2 Item total statistics ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 56 4 1 Mean of levels of education by dependent variables ................................ ................ 66 4 2 Post hoc test of research groups ................................ ................................ .................. 68 4 3 Summar y of research questions and hypotheses results ................................ ......... 71
9 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Formation of Christian discipleship ................................ ................................ .............. 37 2 2 Formation of believer attitudes toward the Church ................................ .................... 37 3 1 Distribution of participants by location ................................ ................................ ......... 42 3 2 Distribution of participants by control & experimental groups ................................ .. 42 3 3 Distribution of participants by age ................................ ................................ ................ 43 3 4 Distribution of participants by education ................................ ................................ ...... 43 3 5 Distribution of participants by gender ................................ ................................ ........... 44 3 6 Distribution of participants b y points of entry into the Church ................................ .. 44 3 7 Distribution of participants by regularity of practice of faith ................................ ...... 45 3 8 Distribution of participants by catechetical status ................................ ...................... 45 3 9 Randomized posttest only experiment design ................................ ........................... 46 4 1 Valence of the Church among Catholi cs. ................................ ................................ .... 62 4 2 Mean of attitudes ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 65
10 LIST OF TERMS A UDIENCE RECEPTION THEORY Audiences interpret communication from different perspectives. When exposed to a text they engage it to generate a variety of readings. B ETWEEN S UBJECT DESIGN An experimental design where each participant experiences the protocol once but the experiment is repeated on different groups of the population at different times and locations. B OLSTERING Positive qualities of the Church that counterbalance the negativity effect of certain information. C ATECHESIS Oral instructions, worship and the total experience in the religious community that form and nurture the faith. C ATECHIST A trained instructor or minister who carries out religious instructions toward faith formation. C ATECHUMENS Persons in the Catholic Church enrolled in the formal instruction classes of the Rites of the Christian Initiation of Adults. C ENTRAL ELABORATION When a per son is exposed to persuasive information, he/she considers to the peripheral routes. In the central elaboration, the person weighs the information thoughtfully and scrutinizes the merit s of the persuasion. C OGNITIVE DISSONANCE THEORY his/her personality, behavior, beliefs, attitudes and environments. If an tension called cognitive dissonance. D IOCESE An administrative unit of the Catholic Church made up of a group of parishes headed by a bishop. D ISCIPLESHIP A faith commitment to lead a life in the path of specific religious beliefs. E CCLESIOLOGY A theological study of the origin, nature, purpose, discipline, leadership and structure of a Christian church. E LABORATION LIKELIHOOD MODEL Put forward by Petty and Cacioppo (1986). It explains that w hen a person is exposed to persuasive information, he/she considers it along peripheral routes. The results of this mental activity determine the direction and intensity of the attitude ch ange.
11 E NCODING & D ECODING relations among institution s through the stages of production, circulation, use, and reproduction of media messages (p. 507); that a single story has multiple embedded messages (encodings) and readings (decoding) depending on the mechanics of power relations of the producer and of t he receiver of the communication text. E VANGELIZATION The Christian approach or method to spread the gospel to people who have not heard it or to those who no longer practice the Christian faith (New Evangelization). H OMOGENEITY EFFECTS Homogeneity test makes the assumption that a treatment will produce similar observations in different groups of an experiment. When this similarity exists then the homogeneity of the experiment is met. I NOCULATORY CATECHESIS Faith formation through the method of inoculati on theory that provides Christians with the knowledge, information and superior arguments to counter real information that impugn their faith. I NOCULATORY HOMILETICS The style of preaching or the content of a homily that provides Christians with the knowl edge, information and superior arguments to counter real information that impugn their faith. I NOCULATION THEORY According to McGuire (1961) "people tend to defend their beliefs by avoiding exposure to counterarguments rather than by developing positive s upports for the beliefs" (p.184), this situation creates an over confidence in the belief that makes the subjects become more vulnerable when exposed to strong counterarguments. It is therefore important that a person through motivation and practice develo p skills that enable him/her to refute arguments against his/her beliefs. Therefore, if an individual receives some kind of negative information prior to a third up e attacks. N EGATIVE MEDIA Media reports that do not portray the positive image of the subject. N EUTRAL VIDEO A video used as a kind of placebo without intended effect on the subject matter of the media experiment, usually used for the control group. O VE RALL ATTITUDE The measure of the holistic appreciation of participants toward the subject being studied. P ERIPHERAL ROUTES The formation of attitudes, opinions and persuasion not based on the arguments or message content.
12 P OINTS OF ENTRY ( USAGE SPECIFIC TO THIS STUDY ) An item of analysis that considered differences in opinions of Catholics who converted as adults and those who are cradle Catholics. R ANDOMIZED DESIGN An Experimental method where subjects are placed into either control or experimental g roups without conscious decision on the desire of the participants to belong to a specific group in the experiment. RCIA (R ITES OF C HRISTIAN I NITIATION OF A DULTS ) The process of formal and full reception of candidates to the sacraments and communion of th e Catholic Church. R OUTES Mental processes of articulating persuasive messages. S ELECTIVE EXPOSURE THEORY The theory states that audiences tend to avoid information that are dissonant or disturbing to their beliefs, attitudes, cultures or world view. S H ORT TERM ATTITUDE The measure of immediate reactions, attitudes and opinions of the audience toward the subject of a video used for experimental media study. S PONSOR A practicing Catholic who is like an advisor or a companion to the catechumen who goes th rough the RCIA. T EXT Any message that has been communicated. T HE S ILENCE A documentary produced by Tom Curran and Mark Trahant for the Public Broadcasting Service Frontline, on the alleged sexual abuse of Alaska. T RANSCENDENCE Situating the weaknesses of the Church within the broader contexts of human struggles and challenges. V ALENCE report after exposure to it.
13 Abstract of Diss ertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master o f Arts i n Mass Communications THE EFFECTS OF CATECHESIS AS INOCULATION AGAINST NEGATIVE MEDIA REPOR TS ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH By Anthony Eseke December 2012 Chair: Michael Leslie Major: Mass Communications In the last two decades the Catholic Church, especially in the United States of America, has faced serious image crises in the media over the a llegations of sexual abuse of minors by Church employees. This study sought to examine the effects of these negative media reports on the attitudes of Catholics toward the Church, and the interactions of catechesis in these opinion shifts. The objective of the study was to provide resources for the Catholic Church and other organizations encountering similar media related issues, to understand the dynamics of these news reports on Catholics, and to understand how the faith and attitudes of the Catholics can be fostered through media inoculatory catechesis (faith formation instruction). Audience Reception Theory, Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Selective Exposure Theory, Inoculation Theory, and Elaboration Likelihood Model all provided the conceptual framework for this inquiry. An experimental method was used for the study. In five parishes in the diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, catechumens and their sponsors were randomly placed in two groups, control and treatment. The former watched a neutral documentary Football High and the latter, watched The Silence Alaska. After exposure to the videos, participants were asked to write essays on their thoughts and feelings, and questionnaires we re also administered to them. The essays and questionnaires
14 provided data that produced psychometric scales for measuring routes of attitude processing, short term attitudes and overall attitudes toward the Church. The statistical analyses showed that af ter exposure to a negative media report, the short term attitudes of Catholics toward the Church were affected, but their overall attitudes toward the Church were not; that there was a correlation between the directional shifts of the short term attitudes and those of the overall attitudes after such exposures. The results indicated that a negative media report on the Church is able to swerve the valence, that is attractiveness (positive valence) or aversiveness (negative valence), of the Church among Cath olics; and that upon exposure to a negative media report on the Church, Catholics centrally elaborate their attitudes toward the Church. The results equally indicated that the effects of negative media reports about the Church on Catholics were homogenous irrespective of whether they were urban or rural, highly or fairly educated, male or female. Finally, it was found that there was a negative correlation between the level of catechesis of a Catholic and the effects a negative media report had on his/her ov erall attitudes toward the Church. Based on the findings, the study suggested that the Catholic Church has to intentionally promote media inoculatory catechesis that prepares adherents to engage certain media reports, and yet not waver in their faith in C hrist and the Church.
15 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Religion Media Reports The mass media, especially in the internet age, have continued to assume a widening range of functions in society. For instance, the media as marketplace serve society in the exchang e of ideas and commodities; as school, they teach and inform; as forum, they service the political systems of society; as village square they entertain and socialize the citizens; and as sentinel they serve as watchdogs of society. But in all of these func tions, the dissemination of news is all over the media, it defies a single conceptualization. Lippmann (1922) for example argued that news is an institu tional product of media organizations through selection criteria and bureaucratic conventions; Carey (1989) maintained that news is not information but drama and ritual used to reinforce society. We do not intend to examine these views of news. But, for th e closeness to home, clarity of meaning, short time scale, relevance, consonance, personification, Alth ough media reporting on religious organizations is not different in essence to the other types of news coverage, the nature of religious attitudes makes it a very sensitive kind. Examples abound 1988 The Satanic Verses and the September 2005, the Jylland s Posten newspaper Mohammed cartoons crises. The sensitive nature of religion therefore sets media reports on religion and religious organizations apart for careful study in communication scholarship. Such reports have become a serious staple of media cov erage and analysis, especially in the last two decades. In 2007, the Pew Research Center began the annual analysis of religion in the News in the U.S. The 2010 report showed that the religion coverage in the mainstream media was higher
16 than any other year since the Center started its annual analysis. It also showed that religion was a highly discussed topic in the blogosphere and the social media in 2010. The continuing interaction of religion and the media, therefore, makes media and religion scholarship v ery important. Research Problem The interactions of religion and the media raise problems, challenges and questions for both the media and religious organizations. For instance, what challenges do the negative media reports about the Catholic Church pose to the Church, to the faith and attitudes of adherents? And what methods are available to the Church to protect the faith of adherents against such a negative media image? Aspects of these issues will be the focus of this research, with specific referenc e and study of how the media coverage of the sexual abuse of children by some priests goal is to discover the relationships and differences in the attitudes formed by Catholics toward the Church as they are exposed to Catholic Church related media reports, as well as the variables that inoculate their faith after exposure to such negative media. Understanding these relationships, however, requires some grounding, esp ecially on the historical context of church & media, discussed in the next section. The Catholic Church and the Media 1991:146). A network that consisted of monasteries where monks literally copied by hand the books that were available and made accessible to seminaries, and later universities, and at the grass roots to the large number of churches and priests who transmitted the gospel to the largely illiterate populatio n in their vernacular languages (Hanson, 2008).The invention of the printing press in 1439 by Gutenberg was what changed this dynamic. Instead of monks copying books by
17 hand, the printing press could print large numbers of copies of works quickly and cheap ly. Instead of the official Latin language for works copied by monks, soon documents were published in the vernacular by the independent printing press for all the masses to read. Unfortunately, the power of control of this newly invented printing press wa s not in the hands of the Church. It was independent and was about maximization of profits. Publishers were not concerned about the theological issues raised by the works they printed. This environment enabled the protest movement of Martin Luther and dest royed the unity in the Christian Church forever. The Catholic Church from that point on viewed the media of mass communication warily. Cardinal Avery Dulles (1994) argued that the changing attitudes of the Church toward the media notwithstanding, there wo uld always be tensions between the Media and the Catholic Church because of the fundamental differences between the two. His arguments are better summarized in a table: Table 1 1 Avery Dulles (19 The Church (is): The Media (are): A mystery of faith; One eternal gospel with continuity Unity and recollection Disagreement Conflict New grace, spiritual blessings Tangible, selective reporting hority Complex & subtle in teaching Hunger for short stories Theological developments over centuries Simple, striking Persuading hearers of the truth of revelation Facts accessible & acceptable to everyone Commitment People plea sing
18 In 1991, the Center for Media and Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., carried out a study of the American media and the Catholic Church. Using content analysis, it examined the news stories and editorial items of some media organizations New York Tim es, Washington Post, Time Magazine, and the CBS Evening News, in three five year time blocks 1964 68, 1974 78, and 1984 88. The study indicated that on most of the controversial issues reported in the media, the Church always lost the debate. The results of the study also showed that the media structured theological news reports like political reportage, mostly as conflicts between the Church hierarchy on one hand, and the lower clergy, lay Catholics and non Catholics on the other. The findings reported th at the language that the media described the Catholic Church mostly employed terms like conservative, authoritarian, and anachronistic. Ten years after the first study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and the Our Sunday Visitor Institute wanted to know if much had changed in the attitude of the American media toward the Catholic Church: They commissioned a second study. In addition to the initial four media organizations, the study included cover age by ABC, NBC, USA Today, US News & World Report, and Newsweek. The period of analysis was 1994 1998. The results showed that two major stories dominated the media in this period clergy sex abuse and that the American media have historically had anti Catholic sentiments (Shaw, 2005), and that the media are guilty of gross biases and double standards when it concerns the Catholic Church (Harwood in R. Shaw, 2005). It is important to recognize this dyna mic as a relevant background to the purpose of this study, which we shall examine in the next section. Purpose of the Study Over the last decade, the clergy sex abuse stories have dominated the media. So much has been written about the fairness/unfairness of the media on the coverage, the manner the Church
19 handled the crises, and the formation of the Catholic clergy. However, very few studies have examined how media coverage of the abuse stories has affected the attitude of Catholics toward the Church. It is therefore the purpose of this study to examine the effects of clergy abuse stories in the media on the attitudes of Catholics toward their Church. Basic research questions and hypotheses seek to determine how demographics like gender, education, and age interact with the attitude of Catholics exposed to these stories. Other questions explore whether experience in the Catholic faith, duration of practice, and regularity of practice act as predictors on the attitude of Catholics toward the Church after exp osure to these media stories. It is also the objective of this study to test the effects of negative religion media stories on attitudes toward the Catholic Church, applying some foundational theories and communication models such as reception theory, cog nitive dissonance, routes to attitude change, and the elaboration likelihood model, all of which are examined comprehensively in the next chapter. Significance of Study This study contributes to the field of reception analysis in mass communication. Exist ing theories in this field include audience reception analysis theory first introduced by Stuart Hall (1980). The theory argued that no audience is a passive receiver of text (any mass communicated message); it contended that text does not convey one singl e meaning. Instead, there is a (Festinger, 1957) established that an indi vidual has cognitive elements situated in his personality, behavior, beliefs, attitudes and environments, and that if an information item agrees with any of n called cognitive dissonance; and to reduce the discomfort of the dissonance, the individual adjusts his perception; the stronger the dissonance, the more motivated is the individual to
20 change his perception. In the Elaboration Likelihood model, Petty & C acioppo (1986) maintained that adjusting these perceptions or attitudes depends on whether the information is processed through the central or peripheral routes. This study adapts these theories to the study of media and religion, to produce knowledge t hat might be helpful to media scholars and professionals and to religious organizations. Through an experimental approach, this study examines the effects of the treatment video ( The Silence ) on the attitudes of Catholics. The data generated and the conseq uent interpretations provide a useful tool for the Catholic Church in particular and religious organizations in general to understand the dynamics of certain media information on the attitudes of their faithful, thus providing a basis for developing mo dels for a media inoculatory catechesis (faith formation instruction). The findings of this study will also be useful for communication scholars and understand how such texts impact the attitudes of the religious audiences and the possible reactions to such texts. Furthermore, the data and results from this study will provide resources for ongoing research on other cognate topics to this study. For example, althoug h approval for the execution of this study in the diocese of St. Augustine was granted, there are documented objections and reservations by the diocesan authority and some catechists about the fairness, balance, objectivity, and even appropriateness of the The Silence for viewing by new members to the Catholic Church. This study provides data for continuing study of the one hand, and t heir impact on religious audiences on the other. Such ongoing study could compare audience reception of reports like The Silence at other institutions like universities and
21 schools to see if there are more general psychosocial filters that predict how such media texts are interpreted. Results from this may also provide a foundation for other studies that might examine, either through content or discourse analysis, individual reactions to the treatment documentary. Discourse analysis might examine the adjec tives and verbs in the language of The Silence Halliday (1985) provided the rationale for such beings to build a picture of rea lity, to make sense of their experience of what goes on around provide deep insights into the material, mental, relational, verbal, behavioral, and existential processe s of sense making and construction of meaning. In summary, this study can make a significant theoretical contribution to media studies, as well as provide practical guidance to religious organizations in their faith formation activities, their image manage ment policies, while serving as a resource for ongoing research in the field of media and religion.
22 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Theoretical Framework In C hapter 1, w e indicated that the general purpose of this study is to examine the relationships of media reports on religion to attitudes toward religious organizations. The specific goal is to measure through an experiment the effects of media report on religion, in this case the report of clergy abuse of children, on the attitudes of Catholics towa rd the Catholic Church. In this chapter we shall review theories like Audience Reception Theory, Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Selective Exposure Theory, Inoculation Theory, and Elaboration Likelihood Model, all of which are useful in formulating the concep tual frames for this study. We shall also discuss the substantiating literatures for the research questions and hypotheses for this study. Audience Reception Theory the initial reasoning on this theory, and Morley (1980) further developed the theory using quantitative fieldwork data on television nationwide audience The theory argued that there is a itutions through the stages of production, circulation, use, and reproduction of media messages (p. 507). It holds that a single story has multiple encodings and decoding (readings) depending on the mechanics of power relations of the producer and of the r eceiver of the communication text. The theory maintained that audiences interpret communication from different perspectives. Some audiences common values and beliefs of the majority in the society, which for many recipients is the
23 if their social experiences conflict with the dominant ideology ( http://www9.georgetown.edu/ faculty/irvinem/theory/SH Coding.pdf ). This theory is conceptually useful to th is study because it provides the rationale for the study. When an organization like the Catholic Church is besieged by so much negative press, one of the main issues that will concern the organization, besides its corporate image, is the attitude of its ad herents. Active audience theory indicates that the audience is not that passive, and the media not all that powerful; rather, Catholics have an active interaction with the negative press and can negotiate with the various encodings to construct their own opinions and attitudes. This theory helps us understand the nature and process of opinion formation in the interaction between reader and text: the process of faith formation, which we will discuss later, provides Catholics with the matrices for this engag ement. Cognitive Dissonance and Selective Exposure Audience reception theory established that there is a multiplicity of decoding possibilities for a media text but it does not account for the effects of the polarity (negative or positive) of the text on t he audience. In other words, we know that there can be a critical engagement between the Catholic reader and the media text about the Church; but what actually happens when this engagement is with a negative faith rocking scandal? Cognitive dissonance and selective exposure theory provide the frameworks for this level of analysis. From this point on, by negative media, we mean those media reports that construct an unflattering image of the object positive to negative. It is frequently argued that negative stories in the news can influence individual behavioral patterns such as attitudes and opinions, and those effects can be enhanced when individuals are exposed in groups to negative media reports, the so called contagion theory (Nuttin, J.M., 1975).
24 But contagion theory might mislead one to assume, as we saw earlier, that the audience does not think for itself and is simply at the mercy of the all powerful medi a. This is not the case. We know that individuals can reject media messages by relying on their own pre existing cultural competencies, made up of their cultural awareness, attitude, knowledge and skills (Blackman & Walkerdine, 2001).They are able to rej ect media messages because at the point of reception of news the individual member of the audience interprets the news through his/her circumstances, outlook, prejudices, and meta messages, which are the latent meanings embedded in audience decodings th at links individual sense making to larger stories (Jensen, 1986; 1998; Gurevitch & personality, behavior, beliefs, attitudes and environments. If an information item ag rees with any tension called cognitive dissonance. To reduce the discomfort of the dissonance, the individual adjusts his perception; the stronger the dissonanc e, the more motivated is the individual to change his perception (Oshikawa, 1968; Brehm & Cohen 1962). This process of changing or switching cognitions is closely allied with what Festinger (1957, 1964) calls selective exposure, which is the tendency of re ceivers to favor information that reinforces their pre existing views but avoid those that are contradictory to them. Several studies have applied the cognitive dissonance and selective exposure to media and religion research. For instance, media use and m edia viewing patterns of Protestants and Catholics (Rigney & Hoffman, 1993; Buddenbaum, 1982; Hamilton & Rubin, 1992; Roberts, 1983; Gaddy & Pritchard, 1985; Tamney & Johnson, 1984; Welch, Johnson, & Pilgrim, 1990). The common finding of these studies is t
25 (McFarland, 1996: 173). Cognitive dissonance and se lective exposure theories have been criticized on the basis of method and content. First, critics argue that where selective exposure imagines that avoidance of dissonant information was due to certain religious beliefs, such behavior might actually be bet ter explained by personality traits like dogmatism (Clark & James, 1967; Innes, 1978; Kleck & Wheaton, 1967) repression (Olson & Zanna, 1979) or anxiety (Frey, Stahlbert & Fries, 1986). nformation consumption patterns of religious people in the new media. For instance, Thorson (2008) studied how the news recommendation engines on the Internet are changing the patterns of news consumption and participation. She collected data for the most emailed stories and articles from the New York Times for a period of 23 days. The endorsement of the emailed articles, she argued, serve as information (p. 473) and, co nsequently, affect the articles to which news consumers are exposed and change their attitude towards these articles. She concluded that the news recommendation commu Cognitive dissonance and selective exposure informed some of the concerns of the design of this study. The theories suggest that the normal reaction of a religious aud ience is to avoid this study to expose Catholics, in an experimental environment, to a documentary on the laska, and examine the role of intervening psychological variables on effects of the documentary on their opinions about the Church. This is
26 a sensitive topic touching a sore spot of the Catholic Church, and the Church leadership recognized this sensitivit y when it said in the approval letter for this research: The Silence, that this production, standing alone, does in fact present an unbalanced picture of e admittedly horrific sexual abuse of minors that occurred in Alaska and elsewhere. Therefore, I do not believe it would be fair to leave the matter only with the showing of The Silence watched The Silence should be given a brief over ranging response to this crisis. This overview should include information about this allegations of sexual misconduct. This requirement is not intende d to minimize in view The Silence of the seriousness with which these events have been taken by the Church in the U.S. (Rev. M.P. Morgan, personal communication, October 15, 20 11). As expected not all catechists (coordinators of catechism classes) were comfortable with going forward with this research. One catechist who rejected the request to conduct the research in his parish said: The PBS documentary, The Silence is an inap propriate film for RCIA catechumens and their sponsors -or anyone, in my opinion, in formation for becoming Catholic. I do not doubt the veracity of the account described in the film as the "perfect storm of molestation". I fear the consequences that vie wing the film will have on those who are new to the Catholic Church. The building material for their foundation in faith has not yet solidified, and this documentary will only loosen the foundation. Although you and I know that the evil that occurred in St Michael, Alaska is an isolated event, people generalize. In this case, the most likely and damaging areas of generalization are on the ordained priesthood and the institutional Church. Much of the good that my catechists and I have accomplished in the RC IA program can be imperiled with a film like this; I cannot run the risk. If you doubt that what I am saying is true, read the comments from viewers of the film on PBS and YouTube. They are venomous toward the priesthood and the Church, and in at least one case I read, justified a person leaving the Catholic Church. ( The Silence personal communication, November 8, 2011). That the Church leadership went ahead to grant approval for this research raises a few talking points. First, unlike the stereotypes of t he Catholic Church often portrayed in the media as an organization shrouded in secrecy and cover up, there seems to be a disposition of the Church to genuinely support research that is well intentioned even when the subject is
27 embarrassing for the Catholic Church. In fact, a participant in this study after viewing the film as e ( Inter Mirifica, 1964) with its adherents about the role of the media, especially as part of the faith formation process, as John Paul II advised (Catechesi Tradendae, 1979). The tough questions, however, are: How can the Church use negative religious re ports about the Church for faith formation of adult Catholics? When is too early or too late to introduce difficult media related topics in the faith formation of Catholics? These questions have no simple answers and they open up ongoing debates for schola rs of catechesis. It is sufficient for our purpose here to assert that informed discussion about negative media reports about the Church might contribute to an effective media inoculation catechesis, an idea that is strongly supported by inoculation theor y, which we discuss in the next section. Inoculation Theory McGuire (1961) argued that although "people tend to defend their beliefs by avoiding exposure to counterarguments rather than by developing positive supports for the beliefs" (p.184), this situa tion creates an over confidence in the belief that makes the subjects become more vulnerable when exposed to strong counterarguments. It is therefore important that a person through motivation and practice develop skills that enable him/her to refute argum ents against his/her beliefs. The rationale for this theory is that if an individual receives some kind of negative information prior to a third up immune s the human immune system can be strengthened by exposure to weakened doses of a virus, so too, this theory suggests, an McGuire (1960, 1961) used psychologica l experiments to test the theory. He found that two
28 forms of inoculation can be effectively used: (1) refutational same arguments that expose the recipient to the same negative information that he/she will later receive in the attack, and (2) refutational different arguments, which expose the recipient to negative information but different from the ones he/she will later receive in the attack. He explained that the prior he inoculation may not be directly related to the forthcoming attack, it triggers the individual to defend his ideas against attack. Inoculation theory, since the 1960s, has been substantially studied and tested across many disciplines and subjects. For i nstance, Ivanov, Pfau, et Parker (2009) tested the theory against simultaneous multiple attacks, and discovered that in accordance with the theory, given multiple attacks, refutational inoculation messages were more effective in protecting established at titudes than supportive messages. Compton & Pfau (2009) argued that the effects of inoculatory messages go beyond those directly exposed to them and extend to those indirectly exposed through word of mouth. Wood (2007) wondered if inoculation would have a ny effect on those who were initially neutral or negatively predisposed toward an object. She decided to carry out a three phase experiment on 558 subjects. Using linear regression analysis, she discovered that irrespective of whether the respondent was in itially supportive, neutral, or opposed to the subject matter, after exposure to the inoculation message they all showed a more significant positive attitude toward the subject matter than the control who were not exposed to the inoculation message. Bana s & Rains (2010) analyzed over 54 cases that tested the effectiveness of the theory. In each of these cases the superiority of the inoculation message over the supportive message group or the no message at all (control group) was consistently confirmed; nonetheless,
29 none of these cases specifically tested the theory within the religious context, which makes this study all the more seminal and highly relevant. Inoculation theory should allay fears, like those of the catechist referred to earlier, that nega tive information may confuse rather than confirm. Paradoxical as it may sound, certain negative information through inoculation strengthens positive attitudes and builds resistance to attitude change. In this regard, Ahluwalia (2000) identified three mode s of resistance: biased assimilation, relative weighting of attributes, and minimization of impact. In this study, he found that committed individuals in the face of easy to refute negative information manifest biased assimilation, in which case they readi ly reject the negative information. However, their resistance decreases when the information becomes difficult to refute. The individuals with relative weighting resistance mentally separate the attributes of the subject into compartments. To those attrib utes attacked by the negative information, their attitudes decrease, but they increase their support for the favorable attributes. The individuals with minimization of impact resistance also isolate the impact of the negative information to the target attr ibute and minimize its spillover to the other attributes of the subject. Inoculation theory operates on two essential types of messages the threat message and the inoculation message. Several research designs can be developed around these messages for exa mple, a study may want to examine the effects of a perceived threat message on a population; Another may specifically examine the different inoculation messages against the threat message to see which is most effective on the population while another may e xamine the effects of time intervals between the inoculation message and the attack message. This study focuses mainly on the threat message the effects of the threat message, in this case, The Silence on the different
30 demographics of the Catholic popula tion. To enable us analyze and interpret these effects we employ the Elaboration Likelihood Model. Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) This model was put forward by Petty and Cacioppo (1986). It explains that when a person is exposed to persuasive informati which stretches from the central to the peripheral routes. Through the central route, the person weighs the information thoughtfully and scrutinizes the merits of the persuasion. The results of thi s mental activity determine the direction and intensity of the attitude change. If the thoughts are favorable, the person most likely will accept the persuasion but if they are unfavorable, the person would not be persuaded. A person however considers pers uasive information depending on his/her ability for critical evaluation and the motivation (such as a strong interest and desire on the subject). When critical evaluation and motivation are absent, the person most likely will process the information throug h the peripheral routes. The model indicates that other factors can determine the routes of cognition such as the relevance of the information to the subject; the level of cognitive need of the subject since those who have higher need to know might give th e information more serious thought. Other factors are the mood of the subject. Those feeling good may not wish to engage negative information that could interrupt their good feeling, whereas those in a neutral or negative mood may engage the information ce ntrally. Surface factors like appearance, medium of presentation, time of day, etc. can affect the routes people choose to process information. Over the decades, ELM has been modified in response to its critics. Choi & Salmon (2003) examined critiques of t he model. They observed for instance that some critics (Stiff, 1986) have argued that it is problematic that ELM assumes that there are two routes central and peripheral, and wondered why the routes cannot be more than two. Why does the model assume tha t every
31 subject is forced to either or routes for processing information? Is the channel of processing single instead of multi channel? Why can people not access the central and peripheral routes simultaneously? Choi and Salmon (2003) observed that the li mitations of ELM are the failure to explain the a priori conditions that determine what cues are processed centrally and peripherally, and the failure to explain precisely how these cues affect attitude change. Criticisms such as these helped to sharpen EL M and it has become a very useful model in many studies in advertising (Petty, 1986), marketing (Bitner, 1985), entertainment education (Slater & Rouner, 2002), and organizational behavior (Street, Douglas, Geiger, & Martinko, 2001). In this study, partic ipants were asked to write essays of their feelings and thoughts after exposure to the treatment documentaries. Their essays were analyzed to determine the attitudes expressed in those writings. ELM was useful in analyzing these attitudes and measuring the routes through which the treatment Catholics react to specific media information about the Church in comparison to the control Catholics. Details of the usage of this model for this purpose are discussed in the Methods chapter. In summary, we have discuss ed the theoretical framework of this research, examining the contributions of Audience Reception Theory, Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Selective Exposure, Inoculation Theory, and Elaboration Likelihood Model to the research design. In the remaining sections of this chapter, the research questions and hypotheses of the study are presented. Research Questions and Hypotheses In order to access the specific effects of The Silence on the attitudes of Catholics toward the Church, it is necessary to delineate the research questions and hypotheses for the investigation. Wimmer & Domimick (2006) say that research questions and hypotheses can be used simultaneously or interchangeably as both state specific expectations of the research. However, the basic difference b etween the two is that statistical hypotheses predict relationships,
32 differences, distributions, and the expected results from statistical tests, whereas research questions do not. Having established this, we shall now proceed to discuss the thematic foci of this investigation and the consequent research questions and hypotheses. Short term and overall attitudes : Pew Research (2010) reported a longitudinal analysis of the 2002 2010 coverage of the sexual abuse scandal of Catholic priests. The study analy zed 11 newspapers, 12 news websites, seven network TV programs, 15 cable TV programs, seven radio programs, news updates and blogs and social media through mid March to late April, 2010. The study revealed that European newspapers published three times as many articles on the scandal as the U.S papers did, and that the media scrutiny centered on the pope himself. The clergy sexual abuse was the eighth biggest story covered and Pope Benedict XVI was the biggest newsmaker in that period featured in 51.6% of all the scandal stories. The extensive media coverage of the sexual abuse scandal notwithstanding, some scholars have argued that the media coverage was excessively focused on the Catholic Church even though there was an equal or greater level of abuse in the secular context or in other religious groups (Jenkins, 1996). Irrespective of the various debates about the media coverage of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal, key questions that are worth investigating are the precise nature of the effects o f these sexual abuse stories on the attitude of Catholics. For example, do Catholics express immediate opinions/attitudes after exposure to these stories that are different than their overall attitudes toward the Church? Upon exposure to such stories, can it be concluded that their immediate opinions/attitudes are the results of the exposure and not the interplay of other pre existing variables created by word of mouth dissemination to which the exposure merely triggered the attitudes? To these sorts of qu estions, Price & Zaller (1993) contend that it is important to distinguish between media exposure and media reception. Exposure is that simple
33 contact with an event or news story through one or another medium, while reception requires establish that opinion change is induced by the media the measure has to be actual reception of the message and, not merely exposure to it. In other words, there have to be longitudinal ob servations and measurements. Judging by this criterion alone, it would seem insufficient to depend on the one time exposure responses of participants, as we have done in this study, to make sustainable conclusions about the effects of these sexual abuse st ories on the attitudes of exposure to news media, even if it does not result in a lasting store of retrievable information, is sufficient to produce various a ttitudinal effects that interest communication & Zaller (1993) and the use of a between subject design, i.e. experiments repeated multiple times between grou ps of the population for its validity, to answer the following research questions: RQ1: Does negative reporting like The Silence affect the short term attitude of Catholics toward the Church? RQ2: Does exposure to The Silence affect the overall (long term ) attitude of Catholics toward the Church? RQ3: term attitude shifts toward the Church and overall attitudes towards the Church? RQ4: Does negative media information abo ut the Church swerve the valence (attractiveness) of the Church among Catholics? Regularity of Church attendance and attitudes: which, she said, goes beyond the external behavior of physical attendance to a much more inner life, not
34 who are engaged uninterruptedly in the activities of Ch urch associations and yet are not Christians." When, therefore, quantitative research questions attempt to examine the purpose of such interrogations ought not be about the relevance or irrelevance of Church attendance because that would be beyond the purview of such empirical studies. Such empirical questions would rather provide data for evaluation of Church services in themselves that either engendered or hinder ed such attitudes. This being said, we posed the following question: RQ5: Does regularity of practice of Catholic faith moderate the effects of exposure to negative information on the Church? Demographic Variables and Attitudes RQ6: What demographic variab les are correlated with attitudes of Catholics exposed to negative media information about the Church? The effects of gender on religious attitudes have been widely studied. Most empirical studies conducted on this subject have concluded that women are m ore religious than men. For instance, studies on church attendance (Field, 1993), Bible reading (Harrison, 1983), Prayer (Poloma& Gallup, 1991), and beliefs and attitudes (Greeley, 1992) all confirm that women are more religiously oriented than men. The st udies offered various explanations for these gender differences but they are outside the range of this discussion. It is however important to point out that based on these studies, it is expected that there might be gender differences in the results of the data of this study. Age differences have also been considered as a relevant factor in attitude studies. For instance, Pew Research Center (2010) reported that Americans 18 29 are less religious than the older Americans, and attend religious services less than the older Americans. Given this dynamic, it may be anticipated that age differences influence the attitude of Catholics toward the Church.
35 It was often assumed that education worked against religion, that greater levels of education reduced an indivi 1865; Durkheim, 1915; Beckwith 1985, Herbert 2003; Johnson 1997). However, some scholars have explained that education positively affected the interrogation of religion in society but does n ot affect the support for the public opinion of religious leaders. Given the diversity of opinions on this subject, it is important to find out the relationship of education and attitudes toward the Church after exposure to negative information about the Church. Central Elaboration H1: Based on the elaboration likelihood model, Catholics, upon exposure to negative information like The Silence will centrally elaborate (thoughtfully consider) their immediate attitudes toward the Church. This hypothesis res ts on the rationale that religious people usually place high priority on their faith and the issues that relate to it. A survey conducted by Ipsos MORI (2011) in 24 and 73% of those under 35 years of age say that religion is important to them. With these sorts of studies there is basis to hypothesize H1. Homogeneity of Effects H2: Negative media reports will have similar effects on Catholics across parish c ommunities. Kline et al (2008) found in their study of three focus groups of participants drawn from different parish communities that there were four major themes of impact of the clergy abuse scandal on the faith of the believers: (a) a deep hurt in r esponse to perceived betrayal by church leaders, (b) a reawakening of pain connected to past injuries by clergy, (c) an effort to cope by separating relationship with God from relationship with the church, and (d) a concern for the spiritual well being of other family members. From the review of literature, it can be argued that if Catholics share common faith and love for the Church, the effects of a religious media report
36 in a Catholic parish community should be similar in all other Catholic parish commun ities irrespective of the rural or urban nature of the parishes. Catechesis and Attitudes Catechesis, from the Latin cat ch sis and the Greek kat kh sis originally meant oral instruction. Several examples of the original use of the term can be found in th e New Testament, for example, katechethes in quibuserudituses teachings you have received of instructing and the content of the instruction. C ontemporary catechesis has not departed from the purpose of its traditional counterparts. It is therefore expected that catechesis should engender Christian discipleship among Catholics that make them love and remain faithful to the Church even amidst nega tivities from within and outside the Church. Such discipleship produced by catechesis calls the believer to follow Christ, to continue to learn about the teachings of Christ, and to be active in the Christian Community. As illustrated in Fig 2 1, this disc ipleship is produced at three levels of catechesis evangelization, Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA), and life long catechesis. Evangelization is the seed sowing effort of the Church to bring the Good news of Jesus Christ to all nations, seeking to conv ert individuals and society by the divine power of the Gospel itself (Evangelii Nuntiandi On Evangelization in the Modern World 1975 ). The Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) is the structured instruction and education of the neophyte in the faith. After initiation, catechesis becomes ongoing. Murphy (2001:331) points h makes Christian discipleship a lifelong catechesis.
37 Figure 2 1. Form ation of Christian discipleship 2 that begins with catechesis at the core, resulting in discipleship. Discipleship provides the inoculation for stable positive attitudes toward the Church. Fig ure 2 2. Formation of believer attitudes toward the Chur ch
38 We therefore postulate the following hypotheses: H3: The level of catech esis of Catholics, upon exposure to negative media information on the Church determines their routes of information processing (thoughtful/ less thoughtful consideration of information). H4: Catholics who have been in the Church long enough (Sponsors), whe n exposed to negative media about the Church, have a more positive valence towards the Church after negative media exposure than newer Catholics (Catechumens). It is expected that adults who decide to become Catholic or to be received into full communio n with the Church and take the steps to enter the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) must have had some religious experiences or promptings to make such commitments from the beginning. It can therefore be argued that although such an adult may not have s ufficient knowledge of the doctrines, rituals, liturgy or even frequency to Church, those initial spiritual experiences that moved them toward the RCIA can sustain their attitudes toward the Church. We therefore offer the hypothesis: H5: There is a relatio nship between the level of catechesis (Catechumen or sponsor) of Catholics and their overall attitude toward the Church. In summary, in this chapter, we constructed the theoretical frame for this study, first explicating the relevant theories such as Audi ence Reception Theory, Cognitive Dissonance, Selective Exposure, Inoculation Theory and Elaboration Likelihood Model, and finally outlining the research questions and hypotheses for the study. In the next chapter, we discuss the methods for answering thes e questions and testing these hypotheses.
39 CHAPTER 3 METHOD Method is critical to the success and failure of any research, especially if such a project is to qualify as science in the first place. Wimmer & Dominick (2006) explained how method makes a proj ect scientific by its public, objective, empirical, systematic, and predictive characteristics. Replication is necessary to scientific research; therefore documenting the procedures, methods of sampling, techniques of manipulation, and observations enables future researchers to repeat the project to confirm or reject the findings of the study. Method validates objectivity in that researchers follow established rules and procedures, setting aside personal emotions or preconceived notions and expectations. A well laid out method operationalizes the variables that are being tested, ensuring they are empirical and measurable by set standards of science. Finally, research method enables science to be systematic by relying on previous theories as well as laying the framework for future research. All of these characteristics engendered by method make science predictive by providing knowledge to society to navigate the complex issues of human society in its culture, economics, and health, (Wimmer & Dominick, 2006). Participants Since this study involved survey with human participants, approval was obtained from the University of Florida Institutional Review Board (UFIRB #2011 U 1022) and from the office of the bishop of the diocese of St. Augustine. Participants for this study were recruited from five parishes in the diocese of St. Augustine, Florida. The parishes included St. Augustine Church and The Student Center, Gainesville; Holy Faith, Gainesville; Queen of Peace, Gainesville; Epiphany, Lake City; and St. Cathe rine, Orange Park. The beginnings of the diocese of St. Augustine dates back to 1565 when the Spaniards set foot on the shores of North Florida,
40 celebrated the first Mass, and named the place St. Augustine after the saint on whose feast day they first sigh ted land. On March 11, 1870, it was designated a diocese, and as of 2012, it has close to 200,000 Catholics spanning though 17 Florida counties Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Colombia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, LaFayette, Levy, Nassau, Putnam, St. John, Suwannee, and Union. The profile of the parishes where the research was carried out is as follows: St. Augustine Church and The Student Center, Gainesville, is a non territorial parish for the students, faculty and staff of the Universit y of Florida, Gainesville and Santa Fe College, Gainesville. It also serves the entire Catholic community of Gainesville area. There was therefore the likelihood that most of the participants from this parish had post graduate degrees or at least some year s of college. Holy Faith parish, Gainesville, and Queen of Peace, Gainesville, presented themselves as multi generational parishes with ministries for children, youth, young adults, middle adults and elders. At the time of write up for this study, no offic ial documents for the demographics of Epiphany, Lake City and St. Catherine of Siena, Orange Park, were available to the researcher. One hundred and twenty seven Catholics participated in this study. Their distribution was as follows: Location & groups: Holy Faith Catholic Church Gainesville 7 (5.5%), Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Gainesville 28 (22%); Epiphany Catholic Church, Lake City 8 (6.3%); St. Augustine Church and the Student Center, Gainesville 48 (37.8%) and St. Catherine Catholic Church, Ora nge Park 36 (28.3%), (Fig. 3 1). The participants in the experimental group were 59(46.5%) and the control group 68 (53.5%), (Fig. 3 2). Age : In analyzing the demographics of the participants, the raw numbers of their exact age generated from the survey wa s grouped into four age categories
41 Young Adult 32 (2 5.8%), Adult 43 (34.7%), Middle aged adult 34 (27.4%) and Senior 15 (12.1%), (Fig. 3 3). Education : The education of the participants was also grouped into five categories, included one or two years of college; so there was no need for a category to account for those with lower education or no education. Participants were also described at their points of ent rance into the Church Cradle or convert for the education of participants was High school 13 (10.3%), Associate degree 25 (19.8%), 4). Gender, points of entry, regularity of practice & category of participants: While two participants did not indicate their gender, 53 (42.4%) identified themselves as male and 73 (57.6%) as fem ale (Fig. 3 the Catholic faith include their point of entry to the Church Cradle 61 (53%) and Convert 54 (47%), (Fig. 3 6); and Regularity of Church attendance Regular 43 (45.3%) and Irregular 52 (54.7%), (Fig. 3 7) and catechesis (Category of participants) Catechumens 64 (52.9%) and Sponsors 57 (47.1%), (Fig. 3 8).
42 Fig ure 3 1 Distribut ion of participants by location Fig ure 3 2 Distribution of participants b y control & experimental groups
43 Figure 3 3 Dist ribution of participants by age Figure 3 4 Distributi on of participants by education
44 Figure 3 5 Distribution of participants by gender Figure 3 6. Distribution of participants by points of entry into the Church
45 Figure 3 7. Distribution of participants by regularity of practice of faith Figure 3 8. Distribution of part icipants by catechetical status
46 Experimental Design The study used posttest only randomized design, combined with Between Subjects re petition of the experiment. As illustrated in Table 3 1, where R = Random assignment, X = Experimental treatment, and O = Observation; participants for this study were randomly assigned to the two groups control and experimental. The assignment was done first by assigning catechumens and then their sponsors. Consequently, there was no attempt to pair a particular catechumen with his/her sponsor and then assign the couple because the research was not testing the effects of such paired assignment. The assig nment did not attempt to factor even distribution of gender, or catechumens/sponsors in individual groups because the design worked with the available number of catechumens and sponsors in the given parish. But the random assignment of subjects and the Bet ween Subject design controls for the possible confounding effects of the ervations to the effect of the treatment (Metcalf & Thornton, 1992). The Between Subject design also controlled and balanced the effects of the extraneous variables such as gender, age, and education. R X O R O Figure 3 9. Randomized posttest only experiment design Experimental Procedure The study was conducted in five Catholic parishes in the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida. The experiments were carried out during the regular class sessions of the catec humens and their sponsors. The design and purpose of the study was not disclosed to the participants. Before the
47 start of the class periods the researcher arrived with an assistant, who knew the design of the study but was not aware of the actual video to be used for treatment, to set up two video stations. The equipment for the stations consisted of laptops and projectors. The participants were briefed and presented with informed consent documents. When the signed documents were retrieved, the participant s were then randomly assigned to the video stations. The researcher tossed a coin to determine what group watched the treatment video. The treatment group watched the 30 minutes video The Silence. The control group watched Football High. Both were produce d by the PBS Frontline documentaries. Once the treatment group completed watching The Silence, the control group discontinued their video which was longer. The two groups were simultaneously presented with plain sheets of papers to individually write an es say about their thoughts and feelings toward the Catholic Church. The the Catholic Church. Please write down whatever you think or feel about the Catholic Chur is part of the design of the study that the control group may wonder at the connection between the video Football High and the request for an essay about the Catholic Church. The fact that the control group lacked a video context to discuss the Cath olic Church unlike the treatment group provided grounds to compare and contrast the measured immediate and overall attitudes toward the Catholic Church. When the essays were completed, the participants were presented a survey questionnaire on attitudes tow ard the Church, originally developed by Thurstone & Chave (1929). When the surveys were filled out, all the participants reconvened and the researcher debriefed them, fully e participants
48 were informed of specific changes, policies and rules that the diocese of St. Augustine has established in response to the subject matter of The Silence. Measuring Instruments The essays written by participants on their thoughts and feelings toward the Catholic Church, after their exposure to the treatment video, were used to measure the immediate attitude of participants toward the Church after watching the treatment video. Two coders content analyzed the essays identifying all units of thou ght in the essays. The coding instruction defined Coders were also instructed that it was possible that in a given sentence there was more than one unit of tho ught, while a group of compound or complex structures could all be a unit of thought. Inter reliability was established between the coders usi identified units of thought were further coded as positive, neutral or negative thoughts. The supportive, or sympath that convey disappointment, non commending, non supportive feelings toward the Catholic Church. All the units of thought that were ambivalent, unconnected to the subject matter, an d not easily categorized as positive or negative were coded as neutral. The units of thought were examined, based on the Elaboration Likelihood Model, to determine the central and peripheral routes of information processing between the control and treatme nt groups of the experiment. Subjects who had 0 3 thought units were considered to have processed the attitude toward the Church peripherally and those who had 4 8 or more units of thought were considered to have processed centrally. This range was determi ned based on literature review of other studies that computed units of thought to apply the elaboration likelihood model (ELM). Counting units of thought is connected to the ELM because the theory
49 stated that the greater the number of units of thought an i ndividual expresses about a subject, the more centrally he/she has processed the subject. (Yoon, 2011; Feldman, 2011; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). The individual valences of the computed thought units were used to calculate and analyze the valence of immediate attitudes toward the Catholic Church. The overall attitude toward the Church was measured by a scale initially developed by Thurstone & Chave (1929). The original scale had 130 statements that express various gradations of attitude toward the Church. Te nnison & Snyder (1968) further adapted the Thurstone & Chave scale for their study of the relationships between attitudes toward the Church and certain personality characteristics. In the present study, through thematic selection, the Thurstone & Chave sca le was reduced to a 20 item instrument designed to measure the attitudes toward the nature of the Church, the value of the Church and the teachings of the Church. Other items measured the attitudes of participants toward the social relevance of the Church in politics and morals, the attitudes toward Church leadership, Church members and Church services. Finally some items measured the level of religious tolerance of the respondents. Item reliability analysis was performed on the survey instrument using Cron items were all collapsed to a single scale for further tests of relationships and differences. Experimental Stimulus The Silence was used as stimulus for the experiment. It is a documentary produced by Tom Curran and Mark Tra hant for the Public Broadcasting Service Frontline. Plot wise, the Alaska environment, describing the population and scenery. The pictures augment the description showing ice covered villages and children playing in the open plain. The narrator established his credibility as a journalist claiming that in all his years of
50 interviews of the victims followed. They made self introductions and broached the subject of their sexual abuse as children. The narrator procee ded to lay out the profiles of the accused priests and Church workers. The profiles were further expanded by the victims and their attorney who through multiple narrations built the case for pervasive child sexual molestation. The next movement of the nar rative introduced Bishop Donald Kettler of the Catholic diocese of Fairbanks. It explained the legal interactions between the victims and the diocese of Fairbanks. It moved to the pastoral visits by the bishop to the villages in St. Michael, Alaska, where the abuses occurred, actions, which the narrator explained, where part of the legal settlement. Pictures showed the bishop at town hall meetings with the victims, listening to, consoling and comforting them. Introducing the Mass by the bishop for healing a nd the Catholic Church has slowly lost almost all of its members, and no full time priest has served ft, only a handful of the survivors and their victims and where they are now. The control group watched an unrelated video to the Catholic Church, Football High: Bigger and Faster, but Safer? The video was useful, first, to kee p the control group busy while the experimental group watched the stimulus, and second, to keep the groups from guessing which video was the actual treatment video for the study. Football High examined a high school football team working toward winning a n ational championship. The video raised concerns of
51 health and safety of the game especially for high school kids. It drew attention to increasing rates of concussions and fatal heat strokes among the players. It speculated on the impact of the competitive football culture on the wellbeing of young players. Manipulation Check Random assignment was central to the manipulation. Catechumens were first randomly assigned and then the sponsors. Great care was taken to ensure this randomization. For example, so me couples expressed the wish to be together in the same group but the researcher made them understand that randomization was pivotal to the study. The decision about what group watched the stimulus video was made by the toss of a coin. Single blind design was another manipulation check. None of the participants knew whether their group was the control or the experimental group, and except for the principal investigator, the research assistant did not know either what group was the experimental group, nor did he know what the stimulus video was. After exposures to the videos all groups were administered similar questionnaires. To avoid order effect, the order of the questions and answer choices on the questionnaire was randomly generated. Operationalizat ion of variables Catholics : The questions of identity do not always have simple and straight forward require a whole range of psychological, historical, nationalistic and cultural perspectives in order to attempt a satisfactory definition. In a similar manner, defining a Catholic is not as straight forward as it appears. Toolin (2001) argued that using self report or frequency of attendance to define being Catholic has some inaccuracies. She claimed that Hadaway, Marler& Chaves (1993) found that actual church attendance is approximately half of what people self report. She indicated that being Catholic could be a descriptive label, a social declaration, a distinctive
52 af firmation or a definitive statement. She explained that as a descriptive label, being Catholic, when this expression strongly affects self definition and consequently the external behavior, the identity is a distinctive affirmation. She argued that although the person at the level of distinctive affirmation may reg ularly attend Mass, hold positions in Church, and may be very active in Church societies, it does not necessarily mean that the person is holy or that the person is entirely inger (1990) in the activities of Church associations and yet are not Christians." Toolin (2001) maintained that being Catholic as a definitive statement means t measure of the Catholic identity. e that the deeper definition of the Catholic identity should include quality of inner spiritual life and agreement with Church doctrines, it is difficult to measure these attributes quantitatively because quantitative research requires empirical and measur eable variables. Even though arguably there are limitations relying on respondents self report or self identification to determine their Catholic identity, a quantitative study such as this is left with no other options. Therefore, in this study, we assum ed the mere attendance of weekly catechism classes by catechumens and sponsors as criterion for their Catholic identity. Catechumens, candidates and sponsors: Catechumens were operationalized as the new members being received into the Catholic Church. Tec hnically, there is a difference between the
53 candidates and the catechumens. Candidates are those new members to the Catholic Church who were previously baptized either in the Catholic Church or in other non Catholic Churches but now seek full initiation in to the sacraments of the Church. On Easter vigil, they are not re baptized because baptism can only be administered once, but they make a profession of faith, are confirmed and receive the Eucharist. Catechumens on the other hand are those new members who have never had any kind of initiation into the Christian faith. They are unbaptized. On Easter vigil they receive three sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. In this study, we used the term Catechumen to refer to both candidates and catechumens. The distinction between candidates and catechumens is sacramentally relevant in the Catholic Church but for the purpose of this study, it was not factored into the design. The fact that candidates and catechumens are new members seeking full initiation in to the Church was sufficient to meld the two concepts as one independent variable. Sponsors: Sponsors are active Catholics who accompany the catechumens through the process of the Rites of Christian Initiation. They are supposed to be experienced Catholic s who stand as spiritual role models for the catechumens they sponsor. It is assumed therefore that sponsors would have higher levels of catechesis and higher resistance to the effects of negative information on their attitudes toward the Church. Negative Media Information: Negative media information is operationalized as the report of events and developments in the mass media that constitute a bad image for the subject of the news and is potentially scandalous to those associated with the subject or otherw ise held the subject in a positive evaluation. In this study, The Silence is used as stimulus for negative media information primarily due to the subject matter of the production, and not its artistic elements.
54 Central processing and peripheral processing : A subject is considered to have centrally processed his/her thoughts toward the Church if the sum total of the thoughts expressed in the individual essays after exposure to the experimental videos are above three thought units. Those who had 0 3 thought units are considered to have peripherally processed their attitudes (Petty &Cacioppo, 1986; Yoon, 2011). The analysis of data indicated that the control group used mixed routing (peripheral, 41.2%; Central, 58.8%) and the experimental group used predominan tly central routing (peripheral, 10.2%; Central, 89.8%). Immediate (short term) attitudes toward the Church : The essays written by participants after exposure to the experimental videos were content analyzed as units of thought (see codebook). Each of the units of thought was ascribed a positive, negative or neutral valence. The data generated was further transformed into a scale that was referred to Immediate Attitude Scale. To verify reliability, two coders independently analyzed randomly selected samples of the essays. Inter http://dfreelon.org/utils/recalfront/recal2/) As indicated in Table 4 ll showed a high level of reliability between coders Table 3 1. Inter coder reliability Var iable % Agreem ent Kappa Krippend Alpha (nominal) N Agree men ts N Disagr ee ments N Cas es N Deci sions Positive 76.2% 0.71 0.712 0.717 16 5 21 42 Neutral 76.2% 0.687 0.688 0.694 16 5 21 42 Nega tive 85.7% 0.742 0.743 0.748 18 3 21 42
55 To construct a scale for Immediate Attitude, the correlation between the positive, neutral and negati ve units of thought were determined. Analysis indicated that the Positive units of thought were negatively correlated with th e Neutral units of thought, r (127) = negatively correlated with the Negative units of thought, r (127) = .0 1. Due to the negative correlation, it was assumed that the resulting Immediate Attitude scale was one dimensional (Coulter, 1998). Therefore, to form the Immediate Attitude indicator, negative units of thought were subtracted from positive units of though t. A Positive difference (+) indicated a positive immediate attitude of the participant, while a negative difference ( ) indicated a negative immediate attitude. Zero difference (0) indicated a neutral immediate attitude. Overall attitude toward the Church : The adapted scale of attitudes toward the Church, initially developed by Thurstone & Chave (1929) generated data that was transformed into a single scale referred to as Overall Attitude Scale. In this study a 20 item adaptation of the scale was administ ered. After a preliminary reliability analysis was calculated, one item was deleted explained that the reliability of most psychometric scales falls within the range of 0.7 0.9. The scale for the Overall Attitude of participants toward the Catholic Church is therefore acceptable. Table 3 2 presents more specific information on the items th at made up the scale.
56 Table 3 2 Item total statistics Item Mean Std. Deviation N Cronbach's Alpha if Item Deleted I have seen no value in the Church 4.58 .949 114 .711 I regard the Church as an ethical society promoting the best way of living for both an individual and for society. 4.25 .967 114 .710 I think the Church is a good thing. I don't go much myself bit I like my children to go. 3.50 1.199 114 .714 I get no satisfaction from going to church. 4.64 .777 114 .711 I believe the churches are doing far more harm than good. 4.57 .830 114 .709 I believe in what the church teaches but with mental reservations. 3.32 1.327 114 .691 I am only interested in the Church for the sake of the social life I find there. 4.56 .580 114 .703 The church repr esents shallowness, hypocrisy, and prejudice. 4.54 .754 114 .692 I do not think one has to belong to the church to be religious. 2.46 1.107 114 .711 I go to church occasionally but have no specific attitude toward it. 4.31 .821 114 .700
57 Table 3 2 C ontinued Item Mean Std. Deviation N Cronbach's Alpha if Item Deleted I believe the Church would be all right if it kept close to the teachings of Jesus but it does not and so fails. 3.79 1.223 114 .680 I believe the Church leaders are afraid to stand u p and say what is true and right. The Church is weak 3.89 1.119 114 .681 My belief is that the Church is more spiritual and a greater force for good than it was a hundred years ago. It is increasing in value. 3.58 1.003 114 .712 I regard the Church as a static, crystallized institution, and as such it is unwholesome and detrimental to society and the individual. 4.44 .729 114 .685 To me the church is more or less boring. 4.29 .737 114 .690 I believe the average of the morals of Church members is conside rably higher than the average of non Church members in the same social status. 3.68 1.077 114 .728 I think the Church keeps business and politics up to a higher standard than they would otherwise tend to maintain. 2.78 .919 114 .734 I believe the Church is an excellent character building institution for children. 4.39 .917 114 .711
58 Table 3 2 Continued Item Mean Std. Deviation N Cronbach's Alpha if Item Deleted I believe the Church is a changing human institution but it has divine realities behind it The spirit of God moves through it. 4.42 .715 114 .725 Statistical techniques Descriptive analysis of data was done using basic frequencies of means and percentages. The Independent sample t test was used to test the effectiveness of the experimental s timulus. It was used to detect significant differences in the overall attitudes toward the Church; between the central and peripheral processing of attitudes toward the Church, and the homogeneity of effects in the Between subjects design. It was also used to determine the effects of gender, age and education on the immediate and overall attitudes after exposure to negative media information on the Church. The effects of the valence of the thoughts expressed by the participants were tested with a one sample t test, followed by post hoc analysis. One way Analysis of variance was used to test the effects of the level of catechesis and regularity of Church attendance on the immediate and overall attitudes of Catholic exposed to negative information on the Churc h. The relationship between the immediate and overall attitudes in the data was tested with bivariate correlation. Missing Data All the participants attempted to answer most of the questions in the survey. There were no total dropouts. There was however s ome missing data on some demographic questions like gender (n = 2), education (n = 1), and Catholic identity (Category, n = 6). These questions were straightforward nominal questions; we therefore assumed that the missing data were not a refusal to respond There was a higher number of missing data on other Catholic identity questions like Entrance to the Church = 12, Regularity of Church attendance = 32, because those questions did
59 not to apply to every participant. There were other missing data in the 20 item questionnaire, but those missing data were not a refusal to respond but occurred randomly, and therefore did not systematically affect final analysis. Moreo ver, care was taken to reduce possible effects of missing data First, in entering the data; the space for a missing datum was left blank on the Second, the SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) is designed to control for the www.helsinki.fi/~komulain/ .../IBM SPSS Missing Values .pdf ) explains that in this method, when two variables are analyzed, only the nonmissing values of the variables are processed through separate computat ion of the frequencies, means and standard deviation of each of the variables compared. The missing value(s) in a particular case is/are ignored. This procedure, the User Guide explains, produces results in which the correlations and covariances of the two compared variables do not depend on the missing values for the two variables.
6 0 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS RQ1: Does Negative Reporti ng like The Silence Affect the Short term Attitude of Catholics toward the Church? In this present study, the effects of a negative media report on the Church was tested on three dependent variables routes of attitude processing, short term attitudes and overall attitudes toward the Church. The results show that after exposure to the negative media report, there was a significant eff ect on the routes Catholics process their attitudes toward the Church, F (1, 125) = 17.367, p = 0.0; the negative media report had a slightly significant effect on the short term attitudes of Catholics toward the Church, F (1, 125) = 3.712, p = 0.056; but there was no significant effect on the overall attitudes toward the Church after exposure to the negative media report. The immediate attitude of the control group was (Neutral, 20.6%; Negative, 7.4%; Positive, 72.1%; n = 68) and that of the experimental group was (Neutral, 13.6%; Negative, 47.5%; Positive, 39%, n = 59). There was a significant difference in the immediate a ttitude of the Control group from the experimental group, t (126) = that exposure to negative religion media information influences the immediate attitude of Catholics, whereby negative information negatively i nfluences the immediate attitudes. RQ2: Does Exposure to The Silence Affect the Overall Attitude of Catholics toward the Church? An Independent sample test of the Overall attitude toward the Church by the control and experimental groups indicated that the re was no significant difference in the overall attitudes of the two groups toward the Church. The t test results showed, t (112) = 1.660, p > .05. It can be concluded that negative media information about the Church does not significantly affect the Overa ll attitudes of Catholics toward the Church.
61 RQ3: Is there a Correlation after Exposure to Negative Reporting Short t erm Attitude Shifts toward the Church and Overall Attitudes toward the Church? Bivariate correlation analysis indicat ed that upon exposure to a negative media report like The Silence there is a positive correlation between the immediate attitude toward the Church and the overall attitude toward it, whereby is that although RQ 2 indicated that exposure to negative media does not directly affect overall attitude toward the Church, RQ1 showed that it affects the immediate attitude and RQ3 now indicates that immediate attitude and overall attitude are positively correlated such that when the value of immediate attitude increases, the value of the overall attitude toward the Church also increases. RQ4: Does Negative Media Information about the Church Swer ve the Valence of the Church among Catholics? Valence was determined by the positive and negative ascriptions to the thoughts expressed in the essays of the participants. Figure 4 1 shows that Catholics normally tend to have high positive valence and low negative valence of the Church, as illustrated by the Control group of this study. However, upon exposure to negative media about the Church, the positive valence diminishes and the negative valence increases, as demonstrated by the experimental group. F ig 4 1 also indicates that Catholics may ordinarily have neutral valence toward the Church but when exposed to negative media about the Church, their neutrality diminishes.
62 Figure 4 1. Valence of the Church among Catholics. RQ5: Does Regularity of Prac tice of Catholic Faith Moderate the Effects of Exposure to Negative Information on the Church? Regularity of Church attendance by Catholics does not moderate the effects of exposure to negative information on the Church. After exposure to a negative medi a report, the regularity of faith practice by Catholics does not significantly influence the short term attitudes toward the Church, F (1, 93) = 0.009, p = 0.926; nor does it significantly moderate the overall attitudes toward the Church, F (1, 83) = 1.102 p = 0.297. Further results indicated that t here were no significant differences between Catholics who reported regular attendance to Church and those
63 who were irregular in their routes of information processing, F (1,83) = .022, p > 0.05, when exposed t o negative media about the Church. RQ6: What Demographic Variables Moderate the Attitudes of Catholics Exposed to Negative Media Information about the Church? Gender : When Catholics were exposed to negative media information about the Church, this data sho wed that gender was not a significant predictor on the routes of information .218, p > 0.05, nor was it a significant predictor for overall attitudes toward p > 0.05. Ag e: .048, p > 0.05, nor was it a significant predictor for overall a 5 displays the spread of the means of the age groups according the dependent variables Routes of information processing, immediate attitudes after exposure and the overall attitudes toward the Churc h after exposure. Figure 4 2 and Table 4 3 further indicate that differences in the age of Catholics do not influence the attitude of Catholics exposed to negative media reports on the Church. The graphs in Fig 4 2 indicate that there are no observable tre nds that indicate significant effects or relationships. Variables that have relationships tend to align along straight lines that are either downward (negative relationship) or upward (positive relationship), (Abbot, 2010).
65 Figure 4 2. Mean of attitude s. A) Short term attitudes by age B) Overall attitude by age C) Attitude Routes Education : When Catholics are exposed to negative media about the Church, their level of .02 1, p > .05) their p > 0.05. Table 4 1 shows more information on the comparison of means according to levels of education.
66 Table 4 1 Mean of levels of ed ucation by dependent variables Levels of education Routes of information pro cessing Immediate attitude indicator Overall attitude High school Mean 1.85 1.38 4.1421 N 13 13 10 Std. Deviation .376 .768 .29984 Associate degree Mean 1.60 1.52 3.947 4 N 25 25 21 Std. Deviation .500 .714 .40972 degree Mean 1.71 1.37 4.0235 N 48 48 47 Std. Deviation .459 .815 .37181 Mean 1.87 1.42 4.0576 N 24 24 21 Std. Deviation .338 .776 .37250 Ph.D. Mean 1.7 5 1.31 3.8211 N 16 16 15 Std. Deviation .447 .704 .44428 Total Mean 1.74 1.40 3.9995 N 126 126 114 Std. Deviation .441 .761 .38673 H1: Based on the Elaboration Likelihood Model Catholics, upon Exposure to Negative Information like The Sil ence will Centrally Elaborate their Immediate Attitudes toward the Church There was a significant difference in the routes of processing immediate attitude between the control and the experimental groups, difference in means showed, t (
67 It can therefore be concluded that Catholics who encounter negative information about the Church are more likely to process their attitude toward the Church centrally. H1is therefore supported. H2: Negative Media Reports will hav e Similar Effects on Catholics across Parish Communities H2 tests homogeneity of variance. Homogeneity test makes the assumption that a treatment will produce similar observations in different groups of an experiment. When this similarity exists then the h homogeneity. If the p value is greater than the critical value usually, 0.05, it is assumed that there is no significant difference in the variances of the group; therefore the e xperiment has similar effects in the different groups of investigation. The result of each experimental group was compared to its paired control group. There was a significant difference (F = 2.529, p = 0.04) between the results of the experimental groups and the control groups, indicating that the treatment video had homogenous effects on the experimental groups. Across all the parishes the project was carried out, there was no significant difference in the effects of the video exposure on the experiment al groups, F (4, 122) = 0.521, p = 0.72. Further results indicated that the variance of the dependent variables between the various parishes for immediate attitude was, F (4, 122) = .201, p = .937; and for overall attitude was, F (4, 109) = .574, p = .682 It can therefore be concluded that there was no significant difference of variance between the various groups and so there was homogeneity of variance. Table 4 1 shows the Post Hoc tests of the dependent variables parish by parish.
68 Table 4 2 Post ho c test of research groups Dependent variable (I) Research location (J) Research location Mean difference (I J) Std. error Sig. Immediate Attitude Indicator Holy Faith Church Queen of Peace Church .250 .329 .941 Epiphany Church .232 .403 .978 St. A ugustine Church .274 .315 .907 St. Catherine .274 .321 .914 Queen of Peace Church Holy Faith Church .250 .329 .941 Epiphany Church .018 .312 1.000 St. Augustine Church .024 .185 1.000 St. Catherine .024 .196 1.000 Epiphany Church Holy Faith Church .232 .403 .978 Queen of Peace Church .018 .312 1.000 St. Augustine Church .042 .297 1.000 St. Catherine .042 .304 1.000 St. Augustine Church Holy Faith Church .274 .315 .907 Queen of Peace Church .024 .185 1.000 Epiphany Church .042 .297 1.000 St. Catherine .000 .172 1.000
69 Table 4 2 Continued Dependent variable (I) Research location (J) Research location Mean difference (I J) Std. error Sig. St. Catherine Holy Faith Church .274 .321 .914 Q ueen of Peace Church .024 .196 1.000 Epiphany Church .042 .304 1.000 St. Augustine Church .000 .172 1.000 Attitude Scale New Holy Faith Church Queen of Peace Church .04413 .19029 .999 Epiphany Church .12895 .22215 .978 St. Augustine Ch urch .08787 .18350 .989 St. Catherine .02396 .18869 1.000 Queen of Peace Church Holy Faith Church .04413 .19029 .999 Epiphany Church .17308 .15755 .807 St. Augustine Church .04374 .09561 .991 St. Catherine .02017 .10524 1.000 Epiphany Church Holy Faith Church .12895 .22215 .978 Queen of Peace Church .17308 .15755 .807 St. Augustine Church .21682 .14927 .595 St. Catherine .15290 .15562 .863
70 Table 4 2 Continued Dependent variable (I) Research location (J) Rese arch location Mean difference (I J) Std. error Sig. St. Augustine Church Holy Faith Church .08787 .18350 .989 Queen of Peace Church .04374 .09561 .991 Epiphany Church .21682 .14927 .595 St. Catherine .06392 .09240 .958 St. Catherine Holy Faith Church .02396 .18869 1.000 Queen of Peace Church .02017 .10524 1.000 Epiphany Church .15290 .15562 .863 St. Augustine Church .06392 .09240 .958 H3: The Level of Catechesis of Catholics, upon Exposure to Negative Media Information o n the Church Determines their Routes of Information Processing Analysis of variance indicated that there was no significant effect of catechesis on the routes of processing thoughts and feelings toward the Church, F (1,117) = 1.928, p > 0.05. The data doe s not support the hypothesis that where a Catholic is in terms of catechumen or sponsor will determine the number of thoughts he/she generates in processing his/her attitudes toward the Church. H4: Catholics who have been in the Church Long Enough (Sponsor s), when Exposed to Negative Media about the Church, have a More Positive Valence towards the Church after Negative Media Exposure than Newer Catholics (Catechumens). H4 is not supported. Univariate analysis of variance indicated (F (1, 117) = .127, p > 0.05) that Catholics who have been longer in the Church have more positive valence when exposed to negative media about the Church is not supported.
71 H5: There is a Relationship between the Level of Catechesis (Catechumen or Sponsor ) of Catholics and th eir Overall Attitude toward the Church. Although catechesis does not significantly moderate the short term attitudes of Catholics toward the Church after an exposure to a negative media report about the Church, t (117.499) = .813, p = 0.418, it signific antly moderates the overall long term attitudes toward the Church after exposure to a negative media report about the Church, t (107.865) = 2.374, p = 0.19. The hypothesis that catechesis correlates with overall attitudes toward the Church is therefore su Summary Table 4 3 Summary of research q uestions and hypotheses results Research Questions & Hypotheses Results RQ1: Does negative reporting like The Silence affect the immediate attitude of Catholics toward the Church ? Yes RQ2: Does exposure to The Silence affect the overall attitude of Catholics toward the Church? No RQ3: Is there a correlation, after exposure to negative reporting, between attitude s toward the Church? Yes RQ4: Does negative media information about the Church swerve the valence of the Church among Catholics? Yes RQ5: Does Regularity of practice of Catholic faith moderate the effects of exposure to negative information on the Church ? No RQ6: What demographic variables moderate the attitudes of Catholics exposed to negative media information about the Church? Gender, Age & Education do not moderate attitudes after negative exposure. H1: Based on the elaboration likelihood model, Cat holics, upon exposure to negative information like The Silence, will centrally elaborate their immediate attitudes toward the Church. Supported H2: Negative media reports will have similar effects on Catholics across parish communities. Supported H3: The level of catechesis of Catholics, upon exposure to negative media information on the Church determines their routes of information processing. Not supported H4: Catholics who have been in the Church long enough (Sponsors), when exposed to negative me dia about the Church, have a more positive valence towards the Church after negative media exposure than newer Catholics (Catechumens). Not supported H5: There is a relationship between the level of catechesis (Catechumen or sponsor) of Catholics and t heir overall attitude toward the Church. Supported
72 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCL USION In this closing chapter, we shall highlight some of the key findings of this study, discuss their theoretical and practical implications; then close the chapter by iden tifying the limitations of the study and future research that derive from this inquiry. Earlier in the thesis we pointed out that modern media technology has made dissemination and access to information almost instant, which in turn presents new challenge s to religious faith formation and nurturing. Religious organizations may not be able to influence the kinds of information that their faithful consume but at least they can equip their faithful to engage the various kinds of media information through wha important information for understanding the interactions between the media and the religious attitudes adherents, interactions which are useful not only to religious organizations but to all other organizations who have to manage and sustain faith, attitudes and goodwill amidst negative media hysteria. The homogeneity of the effects of this research (H2) provides sufficient grounds for the broad implications and app lications of the findings to Catholics and religious organizations in general. : Religious faith is a deeply spiritual experience and negative news on religious institutions tends to upset religious individual s deeply. These reactions were observed among Catholics who watched The Silence in this study. The discomforts had such strong effect that as we observed earlier in cognitive dissonance theory, there is a tendency for religious individuals to avoid such ne gative news through selective exposure and/or for religious organizations to avoid the embarrassment of the crisis through organized silence. But we discovered from our research that cognitive inoculation is a much more effective approach than avoidance or silence. We therefore advice that since the
73 the negative news, it is important that organizations, especially religious organizations, have standing plans an d policies for immediate media crisis management. These polices can employ the resources of audience reception theories that establish the ability of the audience to engage cies are not simply reactionary to negative news but proactive through information and catechesis that Rightfully, most Catholic dioceses in the United States have m edia relations policies. Since the diocese of St. Augustine was our project location, we examined its communication policies, The document outlined various regulations regarding the media and the typical action plans should a media crisis break out in the diocese. For example, one regulation instructs that Diocesan personnel will contact their supervisor and Director of Commun ications strategic planning, as well as the diocesan attorney, if appropriate. The document further demon strates an expected action plan for a media crisis: Example of Information Management of an Unexpected Event 8:00 a.m. Unexpected event occurs at diocesan entity 8:15 a.m. Staff person learns of unexpected event 8:16 a.m. Staff person notifies head of di ocesan entity 8:30 a.m. Director of Communications; and other appropriate diocesan personnel (such as Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Fiscal Officer and Insurance Represen tative); and diocesan attorney. (Refer to the wallet size card entitled: Diocese of Saint Augustine Emergency Response Procedures ).
74 8:30 a.m. Simultaneous with diocesan notification is action taken by diocesan entity to address the unexpected event. 8:30 a .m. and beyond Diocesan personnel work with diocesan entity for information management, both internal and external, as well as strategic plan to deal with situation. a) Office of Communications manages media inquiries through the entity, as well as directly f rom its office. b) Office of Communications, in coordination with other diocesan personnel, work to prepare internal and external statements to be distributed to parishioners, parents, etc. or news media as appropriate. c) Spokesperson(s) is designated and trai ned for internal and external oral statements in coordination with the Office of Communications. The above review of the St. Augustine Diocese Communication policies shows that the Catholic Church, commendably, takes seriously media crisis management. Bas ed on the findings of this study, we can suggest that aspects of the communication policies that can be further developed include media inoculatory catechesis programs for the diocese. Such programs can lay out the long term plans for creating awareness am ong the faithful on the nature of the Church, the nature of the secular media and the essential skills of an empowered consumer of media products. : St. Peter (1 Pet. 3:15) gives the following exhortation: gave the exhortation within the broader context of Christian suffering advising that the Christian faith will always face trials and tribulations but he insisted that Christians should make sense of those suffering through a spiritual reasoning that justifies the faith and hope they hold as Christians. We discovered in this study that Catholics seem to have taken to heart the exhortation of St. Peter because in spite of the pains of negative news about the Church, Catholics hold the essence and values of the Church highly. The results of the questionnaire on the overall attitude toward Church after exposure to negative news indicated that Catholics have the spiritual
75 reasoning tha t separates the humanity of the Church from the divine presence and activity of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Our study showed there were no significant differences in the overall attitudes of Catholics exposed to negative news about the Church and those not exposed to it, implying that the overall attitudes toward the Church do not shift quickly or change by mere exposures to negative news on the Church. Given these results, it is important to point out that the determinants of the overall attitudes towar d the Church are formed over a period of time, formed through life long catechesis. It is therefore necessary that the entire life of the Church worship and homilies be directed toward nurturing Catholics with those messages and education that deepen thei r love of the Church. They fall back on that love in the time of crisis. : We argued earlier in chapter two that when a quantitative research like this one attempts to examine the inte raction between regularity of Church attendance and the attitudes formed toward the Church after exposure to negative news on the Church, the objective is not to determine the spiritual relevance or irrelevance of regular church attendance because such inv estigations are beyond the purview of science. The objective here was to simply observe the differences in attitudes of Catholics who described themselves as regular or irregular. We were surprised at the result of the RQ5 that the regularity of practice o f Catholic faith does not moderate the effects of exposure to negative information on the Church. There is need however for further investigation of this variable. For instance in this study we relied on the self report of participants on how regular they were at church functions in the past but the very fact that at the time of the study, they were enrolled as catechumens or sponsors may have provided the strong motivation that confounded the effects of regularity of faith practice on the attitude variable s. It is therefore suggested that further investigation of this variable may have to locate participants who are inactive or irregular
76 at the time of study, and are administered the survey in non church locations in order to further enhance the validity of the design. We were equally surprised that gender, age and education did not moderate the attitudes of Catholics after exposure to negative media on the Church. This unexpected result calls for more research to further validate the finding. Until the n, however it is logical to assert that gender, age and education do not moderate the attitudes of Catholics toward the Church because the sources of such attitudes are psycho spiritual (faith and catechesis) rather than social factors of gender, age and opinions toward her should not be determined by cultures, race, gender, age or education but by the spiritual, which implies that efforts to maintain positive attitudes o f Catholics exposed to negative media on the Church should be directed toward the spiritual faith, communion and catechesis. : Even though the result of this study does not support the hypothesis (H3) that the level of cateche sis of Catholics, upon exposure to negative media information on the Church determines their routes of attitude processing, to firmly uphold the result it is necessary to further investigate the variable especially in the development of other measuring ins truments for catechesis. In this study we simply measured the levels of catechesis by the nominal categorization of participants into catechumens and sponsors. But we realize that catechesis is a broad concept that includes religiosity, bible and doctrinal knowledge. It is therefore important to develop other psycho metric scales that measure these other aspects of catechesis. The further study of these other aspects of catechesis can provide broader and stronger evidence of the effects of catechesis on the attitudes of Catholics toward the Church after exposure to negative media on the Church.
77 The lack of support for H3 notwithstanding there is evidence for the hypothesis (H5) that there is a relationship between the level of catechesis (Catechumen or spo nsor) of Catholics and their overall attitude toward the Church. In other words the upward or downward movement on the scale for the overall attitude toward the Church after an exposure is related to the Catholics status as a catechumen or sponsor. There i s reason therefore to suggest that the level of catechesis is an important factor in fostering the attitudes of Catholics in a media contagion. This lends support to media inoculatory catechesis advocated in this study. Since this catechesis is a seminal i dea, it needs further development through research, studies and publications especially on the content of the catechesis for the various levels of faith formation for catechumens (fresh Catholics), lay church leaders and for the priestly formation of semin arians. This media catechesis can target topics such as: The nature of the Church (elements of ecclesiology and Church history). Basic knowledge of the nature of the media. Understanding Church and the media (e.g. Dulles, A. (1994, October 1). Religion an d the News Media: A Theologian Reflects. America, 171, 6 9). Becoming an empowered media audience (e.g. Audience Reception Theory). Media and the challenges of faith in a modern world. Responsible Christian media use Inoculatory homiletics (for formation of seminarians) Ongoing research in this area of catechesis may test different religious messages and homilies to formulate theories about what sorts of religious messages are more inoculatory than others. Future studies on this area may also settle the p eriod of faith formation that is best suited to introduce inoculatory catechesis. For instance, Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) has four main periods:
78 Pre Purification and Enlightenme ( http://www.dosaformation.org/documents/RCIA%20Overview%20from%20Appendix%20seve n.pdf ). Further research would therefore provide data to support the period most ef fective for inoculatory media catechesis therefore settling the debates as to what time is too early or late to broach the catechesis. Negative media information and organizational valence: We found out in this study that exposure to negative media inform ation about an organization tends to increase the negative valence and decrease the positive valence of the organization among the audience. This agrees individual ten ds to be weighted more heavily than comparable positive information, which is information is balanced, the negative information tends to dominantly influence the v alence.(Anderson, 1965; Brinbaum, 1973; Fiske, 1980; Oden & Anderson, 1971; Reeder &Coovert,1986; Van der Pligt&Eiser, 1980); Given the nature of negative media information on organizational valence, it is necessary therefore that religious organizations promote activities and initiatives that nurture and sustain a mindset (Highhouse et al 2007) that enhances strong Negative media information and Central elaboration: The resul ts of this study showed that Catholics when exposed to negative media information about the Church elaborate their
79 attitudes toward the Church centrally (H1). According to the Elaboration Likelihood Model, two main factors determine the routes of elaborat ion Motivation and Ability. Motivation is the strong desire to engage the information, and ability is the intellectual capacity to critically engage the information. It is important that religious organizations formulate faith formation programs that in tentionally enhance the ability of adherents to centrally elaborate their faith and attitudes toward the organization especially when exposed to negative media information. We conclude this discussion by stating that religious organizations who wish to mi nimize the effects of negative media against the faith of adherents need to strategize on long term catechesis that sustains solid overall attitudes toward the religious organization; such catechesis should center on bolstering positive qualities of the C hurch that will counterbalance the accusations, and transcendence situating the weaknesses of the Church within the broader contexts of human struggles and challenges. Study Limitations and Future Research The small number of 127 participants selected fro m five parishes is a limitation to this study; that the research was carried out in a single diocese as against the over 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States is another limitation. However the findings of this study provide a lead for future research Future studies might include a longitudinal study of the attitude change after exposure to negative media; studies across cultures to test the impact of the cultures of Catholics on their attitude change toward the Church after exposure to negative medi a on the Church. Given the concerns of the Church authorities on the video used as treatment for the study, future research may examine through content analysis the objectivity and fairness of the The Silence and other media reports on the Church. Finally, future research could test specific inoculation messages on Catholics to see what messages are most effective for media inoculatory catechesis.
80 APPENDIX A RESEARCH QUESTIONNAI RES USED IN THE EXPE RIMENT
87 APPENDIX B APPROVAL OF UFIRB # 2011 U 1022
88 APPENDIX C INFORMED CONSENT
90 APPENDIX D APPROVAL OF THE DIOC ESE OF ST. AUGUSTINE
91 APPENDIX E CODEBOOK FOR UNITS O F THOUGHT Code Book Religion Media Reports and Attitudes toward religious organizations 1. Thought: A thought is coded as a co mplete unit of idea conveyed by a word, phrase, sentence or group of sentences. 2. It is possible for a sentence to contain more than one units of thought. 3. Valence of thought: Positive, Negative, Neutral 4. Positive thought: Code a thought as positive if it c onveys commending, supportive, or sympathetic idea about the Catholic Church. 5. Negative thought: Code as Negative, ideas that convey disappointment, non commending, non supportive feelings toward the Catholic Church. 6. Neutral thought: Code as neutral, tho ught that is ambivalent, unconnected to the subject matter, and not easily categorized as positive or negative.
92 APPENDIX F DISTRIBUTION TABLE O F VARIABLES Variable n % Groups Control 68 53.5 Experimental 59 46.5 Locations Holy Faith Church 7 5 .5 Queen of Peace Church 28 22 Epiphany Church 8 6.3 St. Augustine Church 48 37.8 St. Catherine 36 28. 3 Gender Male 53 42.4 Female 73 57.6 Missing = 2 Level of Education High School 13 10.3 Associate degree 25 1 9.8 .1 24 19 PhD 16 12.7 Missing = 1 Category of participants Catechumen & Candidate 64 52.9 Sponsor & Catechist 57 47.1 Missing = 6 Entrance t o the Church Cradle 61 53 Convert 54 47 Missing = 12 Regularity of Church Attendance Regular 43 45.3 Irregular 52 54.7 Missing = 32 Age Young Adult Catholic (18 25yrs) 32 25.8 Adult Catholic (26 45yrs) 43 34.7 Middle aged Catholic (46 64yrs) 34 27.4 Senior Catholic (65+ yrs.) 15 12.1 Missing = 3
93 APPENDIX G SKEWN ESS AND KURTOSIS OF THE DATA DISTRIBUTION Variable Skewness Ku rtosis Control & Experimental Groups .144 2.020 Research location .589 921 Gender .311 1.934 Levels of Education .018 .606 Point of Entrance .124 2.020 Category of Respondent .117 2.020 Regularity of Practice .193 2.005 Age Groups .253 .943 Routes of Information Processing 1.062 .887 Immediate Attitude Indicator .810 .835 Overall Attitude .263 .165
94 APPENDIX H MEAN OF ATTITUDES BY AGE GROUPS Age Groups Routes of Information processing Immediate Attitude Indicator Overall Attitude Young Adult Catholics Mean 1.84 1.50 3.9737 N 32 32 30 Std. Deviation .3 69 .762 .41459 Adult Catholics Mean 1.60 1.37 3.9690 N 43 43 39 Std. Deviation .495 .787 .37464 Middle Aged Catholics Mean 1.82 1.29 4.0368 N 34 34 30 Std. Deviation .387 .760 .41122 Senior Catholics Mean 1.67 1.47 4.0648 N 15 15 13 Std. Dev iation .488 .743 .34590 Total Mean 1.73 1.40 3.9995 N 124 124 112 Std. Deviation .444 .763 .38917
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105 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Prior to ac cessing the University of Florida Master of Arts in Mass Communications (MAMC International Communication), Anthony Eseke holds the following degrees: M.A. Public Relations (University of Nigeria), B.A. English (University of Ibadan), B. A. T heology, and B.A. Philosophy (SS. Peter & Paul Seminary) His previous media experiences include Founder & Director, Word of God through the Media (Verdem), and Director, Idah Diocesan Printing Press. At present he is the Associate Pastor & Director of Communications at St. Augustine Church & the Student Center, Gainesville Florida.