Promotion versus Prevention: Regulatory Focus Theory and Ebola Virus Disease Discourse

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Patama Satawedin


              West African ebola virus disease in 2014 is the worst epidemic outbreak ever in the world.  This study targeted to discover the language used in ebola virus disease newspaper headlines by finding out whether or not ebola virus disease was the West African disease and examining the focus of ebola virus disease, either promotion focus or prevention focus, following to the Regulatory Focus Theory.  Through critical discourse analysis, the study scrutinised, in total, 425 ebola virus disease newspaper headlines, published in the West African newspapers and those in other parts of the world where the effects were spread out, i.e. the United Kingdom and the United States.  The results indicated that, the journalists in Western African and Western countries agreed that, through the locus of ebola virus disease, local coherence, and modality used, ebola virus disease was the West African disease.  As for the focus of ebola virus disease, following to the Regulatory Focus Theory, a ‘scorpion’ picture was portrayed.  While the Western African journalists were hoping that the situation would be better soon – promotion-focus, their Western counterparts prioritised safety and security reasons – prevention-focus.  Although intercultural communication is taken into consideration, ethnocentrism should be lessened.      


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