Public reaction to the death of steve jobs: Implications for cancer communication

Jessica Gall Myrick, Seth M. Noar, Jessica Fitts Willoughby, Jennifer Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The present study aimed to examine the public reaction to the death of Steve Jobs, focusing on general and cancer-specific information seeking and interpersonal communication. Shortly after Jobs's death, employees from a large university in the Southeastern United States (N = 1,398) completed a web-based survey. Every employee had heard about Steve Jobs's death, and 97% correctly identified pancreatic cancer as the cause of his death. General (50%) and pancreatic cancer-specific (7%) information seeking, as well as general (74%) and pancreatic cancer-specific (17%) interpersonal communication, took place in response to Steve Jobs's death. In multivariate logistic regression analyses controlling for demographics and several cancer-oriented variables, both identification with Steve Jobs and cancer worry in response to Steve Jobs's death significantly (p <.05) predicted pancreatic cancer information seeking as well as interpersonal communication about pancreatic cancer. Additional analyses revealed that cancer worry partially mediated the effects of identification on these outcome variables. Implications of these results for future research as well as cancer prevention and communication efforts are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1278-1295
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of health communication
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 30 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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