Reactions of Young Adults to the Death of Apple CEO Steve Jobs: Implications for Cancer Communication

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


On October 5, 2011, the Chief Executive Officer of Apple®, Inc., Steve Jobs, died from pancreatic cancer. Media outlets covered the event with fervor, and the public responded in kind. The purpose of this study was to examine public reaction to Jobs's death from pancreatic cancer in relation to general and health-specific information-seeking, as well as interpersonal communication. Using a survey conducted within weeks of Jobs's death (N = 401), high awareness of this event was found, as were significant amounts of information-seeking and interpersonal communication with regard to his death. Emotional responses to his death were found to be the best predictors of related health communication behaviors. Along with descriptive findings of who communicated, with whom, when, and about what, these findings provide guidance for health communicators, who may use celebrity cancer announcements or deaths to capitalize on increased attention to the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-126
Number of pages12
JournalCommunication Research Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication


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