Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communications Media

First Advisor

Mary Beth Leidman, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Zachary Stiegler, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Anna V. Oritz Juarez-Paz, Ph.D.


This study examines the effort of Pennsylvania State University’s image repair strategy during the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Utilization of a content analysis allowed for exploration into three sources of message content: traditional press releases, Facebook posts, and Twitter posts. Examination of the data suggests that Penn State University utilized similar image repair strategies on Facebook and Twitter (reduction and correction) while press releases used a more diverse selection of strategies (denial, evasion, reduction, correction, and mortification). The study found that the University only moderately used image repair strategy within their message content regardless of the source. An expanded look at other message content revealed that the origin of the message (Facebook, Twitter, or press release) is directly related to content. A summary and analysis of the results, the implications thereof, and suggestions for future research conclude this study.