Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Maritt Kirst

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Social determinants of health (SDOH) are conditions in which people live, such as physical environment or political context, which impact health. In Canada, SDOH are the greatest determinants of life expectancy. Despite evidence that broader social structural factors are key determinants of health, a majority of the public Ontario hold an individualistic view of health and do not see the government as having a role in decreasing health inequities. It is imperative to address the gap between public opinion and existing evidence as governmental policy will have the greatest effect on decreasing health inequities caused by SDOH. This thesis is a two-phase project. Phase one is a media content analysis and literature review, which inform the development of messages about SDOH and health inequities to deliver to the public. Messages reflect current Canadian media portrayals of SDOH and health inequity, as well as a wide range of narrative styles. Phase two includes an experimental study testing the efficacy of these different narrative message styles. The goal of this work is to determine the most impactful message style, specifically for subgroups which have been hypothesized as more difficult to reach. Changing the current public narrative about SDOH will contribute to changing attitudes and political will, and eventually to achieving social justice through related health policy in Ontario.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season