Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Arts and Communication

First Advisor

Youngju Sohn

Second Advisor

Heidi Edwards

Third Advisor

Vanessa Edkins

Fourth Advisor

Robert Taylor


Public relations is a strategic field because an organization may need to structure a message with the intent of persuading the public and making it respond to a crisis and a message in a certain way. This study will help introduce the concept of a lingering crisis that is hardly present in research and could be put under the public relations umbrella. Using a survey of communications students, this study will compare the public attitudes and perceptions of perceived legitimacy of a police department after it experiences one of three crisis types, one of which being a lingering crisis. Attitudes and legitimacy will again be compared after the department releases an apology or denial in response to the crisis. The final component that this study will measure is how the race of the participants influences the outcome variables. The results of this study may have important implications because the crises that are used reflect current events and could impact how organizations, specifically police departments, communicate after a crisis.


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