A Content Analysis of Social Media Campaigns in the 2016 US Presidential Election



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This dissertation analyzed the social media posts of the 2016 United States presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Study one, utilizing the Extended Parallel Process Model, looked at the different fear appeal tactics in the candidates’ social media posts. Study two, using the Image Repair Theory, isolated instances where both candidates went through a crisis and analyzed their responses on social media. This author found that both candidates used various tactics under the fear appeal model. The author did not find conclusive evidence on image repair tactics used via social media. This dissertation is the first application of EPPM in a political communication context. The dissertation also adds onto the rich background of Image Repair Theory, bringing the theory into the age of social media.