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Female journalists under attack? Explaining gender differences in reactions to audiences’ attacks


Stahel, Lea; Schön, Constantin (2019). Female journalists under attack? Explaining gender differences in reactions to audiences’ attacks. New Media & Society:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

The literature on public figures attacked by their audiences is unclear why female and male figures react differently to attacks. This study examines why female journalists are more likely than male journalists to use avoidance strategies as a reaction to online attacks. Avoidance includes limiting audience engagement, adapting reporting behavior, and thinking about quitting journalism. Drawing on social role theory and gender stereotypes, this study contrasts two explanatory hypotheses. The results, based on mediation analyses of online survey data of 637 journalists representative of Switzerland, show that women are more likely than men to use avoidance strategies because women are more stressed by attacks. This heightened stress is argued to result from differences in gender role socialization. In contrast, while women are somewhat more severely attacked than men, this cannot explain their greater probability of avoidance. Results contribute a theoretically and empirically rich explanation of gendered reactions to attacks.

Abstract

The literature on public figures attacked by their audiences is unclear why female and male figures react differently to attacks. This study examines why female journalists are more likely than male journalists to use avoidance strategies as a reaction to online attacks. Avoidance includes limiting audience engagement, adapting reporting behavior, and thinking about quitting journalism. Drawing on social role theory and gender stereotypes, this study contrasts two explanatory hypotheses. The results, based on mediation analyses of online survey data of 637 journalists representative of Switzerland, show that women are more likely than men to use avoidance strategies because women are more stressed by attacks. This heightened stress is argued to result from differences in gender role socialization. In contrast, while women are somewhat more severely attacked than men, this cannot explain their greater probability of avoidance. Results contribute a theoretically and empirically rich explanation of gendered reactions to attacks.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Sociology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Coping, gender, journalists, online attacks, social role theory, socialization, survey
Language:English
Date:6 November 2019
Deposited On:24 Jan 2020 09:34
Last Modified:14 Feb 2020 16:11
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:1461-4448
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444819885333

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