Creating a healthier citizenry: an efficacy study of anti-smoking public service announcements

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University of Alabama Libraries

This study sought to pinpoint certain factors that make a health campaign more or less effective, enabling the design of better messages that can create a healthier citizenry. An efficacy study was conducted to assess which appeals (rational or emotional) and type of benefit (first-person or third-person) advertised in public service announcements have the greatest impact on ad effectiveness and how that effectiveness interacts with health intentions. This study also introduces a new factor into health campaign research that could have an impact on effectiveness: moral development. Results indicate that the type of appeal being used in a health ad does not impact that ad's effectiveness, while messages advertising a third-person benefit of the health behavior are more appealing than those advertising a first-person benefit. They also indicate that an ad presenting both a third-person benefit and an emotional appeal, or a first-person benefit with a rational appeal, would have a greater influence than an ad presenting only an appeal, only a benefit, or a different combination of either. Results also indicate that using either an ad with a third-person benefit and an emotional appeal, or with a first-person benefit and a rational appeal, have success communicating with viewers who already have low intentions to smoke. The findings of this study indicate that moral development does play a role in how an individual evaluates a health ad. Practical implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Communication, Educational psychology