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Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)
Date of Defense
First Committee Member
Don W. Stacks
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Michael J. Betty
Fourth Committee Member
Alyse Renee Lancaster
To understand the influence of visuals on social media in crisis communication, this dissertation examined the effects of images on social media messages on publics’ perceptional and reputational outcomes. By employing Coombs’ Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) and concepts from multiple disciplines, this study presented three hypotheses and examined three research questions. Specifically, main effects of message and image strategies as well as an interaction effect between the message and image strategies were investigated in the study. To examine the hypotheses and research questions, a 3 (crisis message: attack accuser, excuse, and apology) x 4 (image: no visual, product, CEO/Founder’s visual without the company’s characteristic, CEO/Founder’s visual with the company’s characteristic) between-subject online experiment was conducted with 296 participants in the U.S. The findings indicate that both social media message and image strategies in corporate crisis communication have significant main effects on stakeholders’ emotion, perceptions, and an organization’s reputation. More importantly, an interaction effect of message and image strategies was found. Based on the findings, this study provides theoretical contribution and practical implications in the public relations field. Future research directions and limitations are discussed in the study.
Public Relations; Crisis Communication; Visuals; Social Media
Yook, Bo Ra, "Examining the Impact of Visuals on Social Media in Crisis Communication" (2019). Open Access Dissertations. 2372.