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Are social embeddedness associated with food risk perception under media coverage?

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Zhen, Yan (main author), Huang, Zu-hui (author), Wang, Yu (author), Zhou, Jie-hong (author)
Online journal article
Publication Date:
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
consumers, farmers, food safety, information dissemination, information needs, interpersonal communication, mass media, perceptions, risk communication, trust, food supply, relationships, effective communication, media coverage
16 pages., via online journal., raceability system has received wide attention in solving food safety issues, via which food information could be tracked back to producer/farmers. Consumers need to obtain this information from producers or social networks, trust in the information, and consequently assess perceived risks, especially when food scandals are exposed to the media. In this study, we introduce the social embeddedness theory to understand how consumers' social activities affect their risk perceptions on traceable food. Specifically, we investigate how risk perceptions are predicted by the interpersonal relationships, organizational level and social-level relationships. Results show that the interpersonal relationships were associated with lower levels of risk perceptions, while organizational and social relationships impacted consumer's risk perceptions at middle and higher levels, respectively. Results also show that the “ripple effect” extended to effect of risk events with negative information, however, did not exist for the group exposed to positive information. Potential food safety implications have been proposed to identify for effective risk mitigation under media coverages.